Universal Releasing The Invisible Man, The Hunt And More On Demand This weekend

The Invisible Man

by James White |
Updated on

As the Coronavirus crisis continues and everyone is warned to try to limit social contact and avoid crowded areas like cinemas, Universal is taking a big step to get its films in front of those who want to watch them, planning to put out current titles and at least one still on the way on demand for home viewing.

The company announced on Monday that films already on release in the States and other countries (including the UK) will arrive on home platforms such as Apple, Amazon and Sky for a price. The US statement includes word that each film will cost $19.99 for a 48-hour rental period. Movies included so far are The Invisible Man, The Hunt, Emma. (all starting Friday) and, once it hits its scheduled release date, Trolls World Tour (due here and across the pond on 10 April). This doesn't mean every Universal film set for 2020 will arrive this way, but it's predicted that the policy will stay in place while public health is fully at risk.

This is a big change for film releases, as cinema owners have traditionally resisted studios' attempts to shorten the window between big screen release and home entertainment arrival. The cost seems hefty, so we'll see how that pans out – though you can only imagine how many people will want to watch new movies as they wait out the quarantines and isolation periods.

"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 studio said in a statement. "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."

"Universal Pictures has a broad and diverse range of movies with 2020 being no exception," said NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell. "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.

“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."

Empire will of course update you as the situation changes.

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