Coronavirus leads Universal to release some movies on-demand early

The Invisible Man
(Image credit: Universal )

With theatrical markets across the globe being forced to shut down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, distributors will have to think about what their release timeline looks like amidst this ever-shifting landscape. Universal Pictures took a big step toward keeping things afloat as we see countless theaters forced to close their doors by way of drastically moving up the Video on Demand (VOD) timeline for releases like Emma , The Invisibile Man , The Hunt , and the widely anticipated Trolls World Tour .

Per Deadline , Emma , The Invisibile Man , and The Hunt will all be available as early as this Friday (March 20) for $19.99. That cost will cover a 48-hour rental period, which already has left a bit of a sour taste in potential viewer's mouths. While it's reasonable to balk at the price initially, let's not forget just how much it costs to see a movie in theaters nowadays. It also bears mentioning that this price is for both domestic and international markets.

As for Trolls World Tour , parents can expect this one to become available for in-home screening April 10 domestically, and April 20 for international markets. It's worth noting that the aforementioned domestic date is the same day as what had initially been planned as the flick's theatrical release.

Though there's no current plan for films in Universal's slate that fall past April 10, what we're seeing here is unprecedented. The current 90-day window from the big screen to digital and physical release is being crunched as a hail mary during these uncertain times. But, depending on the outcome and how many others follow suit, this could have huge implications on the film industry as a whole.

Amelia is an entertainment Streaming Editor at IGN, which means she spends a lot of time analyzing and editing stories on things like Loki, Peacemaker, and The Witcher. In addition to her features and editorial work, she’s also a member of both the Television Critics Association and Critics Choice. A deep love of film and television has kept her happily in the entertainment industry for 7 years.