Film Critics in the land of Corona COVID 19 / Universal to Make ‘Trolls World Tour,’ Current Theatrical Releases Available Early on Home Entertainment

By Joe Viglione

First we started getting the notices that James Bond’s new flick No Time To Die was moved to Thanksgiving, 2020. Then West Newbury’s own Jon Cena’s F9 (Fast and Furious 9) as Jakob Toretto, Dom and Mia’s brother who is working as a master thief, assassin and a high-performance driver got his F9 pushed back to April 2021. These were the films moving back to another time, but as for film screenings for critics? That’s another blow.

At 9:17 am on March 13th we got a note from a publicist: Good morning, As announced last night, Disney has postponed the release of MULAN indefinitely. In light of this, we will not be moving forward with the press and promotional screenings that were going to be held over the next two weeks. We will certainly keep you aware of a new release date or any other info when we receive it.

Other notices started bombarding the critic’s mailbox: THE LOVEBIRDS (Paramount Pictures), previously scheduled to release on April 3, 2020, is now postponed indefinitely.

and another: A QUIET PLACE PART 2 After much consideration, and in light of the ongoing and developing situation concerning coronavirus and restrictions on global travel and public gatherings, Paramount Pictures will be moving the worldwide release of A Quiet Place Part II. We believe in and support the theatrical experience, and we look forward to bringing this film to audiences this year once we have a better understanding of the impact of this pandemic on the global theatrical marketplace. The screening scheduled for Monday, March 16th at 7:00PM at ShowPlace Icon is CANCELLED.

Which led to today’s press release from Comcast/NBC/Universal

COMCAST NBCUNIVERSAL MOVES TO MAKE CURRENT MOVIES AVAILABLE IN THE HOME

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

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA—March 16, 2020—NBCUniversal today announced that Universal Pictures will make its movies available in the home on the same day as their global theatrical releases, as current circumstances have made it more challenging to view our films. Beginning with DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls World Tour (opening April 10 in the U.S.) the company will also make movies that are currently in theatrical release available on-demand starting as early as Friday, March 20. 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. The announcement was made by Jeff Shell, CEO, NBCUniversal.

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. 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. 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 Shell. “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.”

The Trolls World Tour release will benefit from the full arsenal of a marketing campaign already underway, including Comcast, NBCUniversal and Sky’s cross-company Symphony support, which will be in full effect. The day-and-date release will be concurrent with Trolls World Tour’s local theatrical release date in each international market where available.

About NBCUniversal
We are one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience.

NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks, and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.

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