NBCUniversal announced today that Universal Pictures will make its movies available online the same day as their global releases in theaters, in light of recommended social-distancing protocols being enacted around the world to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“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 theaters,” the company said in a press release. “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.”
DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls World Tour will be the first new Day-and-Date release available, with other in-release titles available as soon as this Friday, March 20. Titles will be available for a 48-Hour rental period from NBCUniversal sister companies Comcast and Sky as well as a broad range of on-demand partners, including iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Prime, and FandangoNow.
Titles from Universal and its specialty label Focus Features, including The Hunt, The Invisible Man and Emma, will be available on a wide variety of the most popular on-demand services for a 48-hour rental period at a suggested retail price of $19.99 in the U.S. and the price equivalent in international markets.
“Universal Pictures has a broad and diverse range of movies with 2020 being no exception. Rather than delaying these films or releasing them into a challenged distribution landscape, we wanted to provide an option for people to view these titles in the home that is both accessible and affordable,” said Jeff Shell, CEO of NBCUniversal. “We hope and believe that people will still go to the movies in theaters where available, but we understand that for people in different areas of the world that is increasingly becoming less possible.”