Film will be made available April 10 on home entertainment platforms; some Universal films now at theatres will be available as early as March 20.
As movie theatres close or reduce their seating capacity in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, Universal has decided to make its movies available on home entertainment platforms, according to Variety. Trolls World Tour, the upcoming feature from DreamWorks Animation scheduled to hit theatres April 10, will now be released through on-demand platforms on the same day; Universal films currently in theatres, including The Invisible Man and The Hunt, will be made available as early as March 20.
48-hour rentals of the film will be available at a suggested retail price of $19.99 in the U.S., and roughly the same price internationally.
Commenting on the move, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell stated, “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. 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.”
While it remains to be seen whether or not other studios follow suit, or how “permanent” the move to simultaneous theatrical / digital release decision becomes, theatre chains can’t be happy; studios continue to shorten the window between theatrical and home entertainment releases, putting constant pressure on theatres whose business is based almost solely on film distribution exclusivity.
The sequel to DreamWorks Animation’s 2016 hit animated musical, Trolls, Trolls World Tour is directed by Walt Dohrn, who served as co-director on the first film, and is produced by returning producer Gina Shay. The film is co-directed by David P. Smith and co-produced by Kelly Cooney Cilella, both of whom also worked on the first Trolls.
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.