Universal to make latest cinemas releases available on demand this week

Films like The Invisible Man and The Hunt can be rented online

This weekend’s box office results made for dismal reading and with cinemas introducing social distancing measures and faced with the prospect of closing completely, the immediate future looks bleak. In response, Universal Pictures announced they will be releasing some of its current cinemas releases via on-demand platforms this week.

Customers will be able to access films The Invisible Man, Emma. and The Hunt via on demand platforms such as Amazon and iTunes. In the US the films will be available for $19.99 for a rental period of 48 hours. The films will also be made available internationally, including the UK.

Trolls World Tour has also been given a day-and-date release, arriving in cinemas and on VOD April 10.

In a statement released by the studio, CEO Jeff Shell said: “Given the rapidly evolving and unprecedented changes to consumers’ daily lives during this difficult time, the company felt that now was the right time to provide this option in the home as well as in theatres.” He went on to say, “NBCUniversal will continue to evaluate the environment as conditions evolve and will determine the best distribution strategy in each market when the current unique situation changes.”

Major studios have long toyed with the idea of providing films online for a premium price at the same time as their cinema release date. An agreed system had yet to be decided on but it appears the current coronavirus crisis could be the event that forces their hand – and may end up changing the entire business model for all of Hollywood’s big players.

Shell also said that “We hope and believe that people will still go to the movies in theatres where available, but we understand that for people in different areas of the world that is increasingly becoming less possible.”

Steven Sheehan

Updated: Mar 16, 2020

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Universal to make latest cinemas releases available on demand this week | The Digital Fix