NBCUniversal Is Making Theatrical Movies On Demand Immediately

The company is breaking its theatrical window for the coronavirus pandemic

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Mar 16, 2020

As arts and entertainment industries grapple with the social and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, NBCUniversal is moving to bring a selection of current titles to viewers in isolation while theatres continue to close or severely restrict capacity.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the company announced today that its current slate of films from Universal Pictures will be made available on-demand the same day as their global theatrical release.

While it remains to be seen whether the move also applies to Canadian services, NBCUniversal also plans to add movies that are currently in theatrical release to on-demand services as early as Friday (March 20).

Titles include Trolls World Tour, which is set to open in North American theatres April 10, along with recent arrivals The HuntThe Invisible Man and Emma.

"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 wrote 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."

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has led to the postponement of films including Disney's Mulan remake, A Quiet Place II and the forthcoming James Bond title No Time to Die.

Production on shows like Stranger ThingsRiverdale and The Witcher has been halted, while upcoming film festivals such as Hot Docs and the Calgary Underground Film Festival have been postponed.

As far as stars go, Tom Hanks and Idris Elba have both tested positive for the virus.

THR notes that theatres are entirely closed in 32 or more markets overseas and partially closed in another 15 territories.

Follow Exclaim!'s ongoing list of Canadian music and film events affected by coronavirus so far.

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