Universal Releasing Theatrical Movies At Home Same Day As Movie Houses Due To Coronavirus

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Katie Jerkovich Entertainment Reporter
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Universal Pictures announced Monday that it would be releasing a handful of theatrical movies at home on demand on the same day as they come out in movie houses amid coronavirus.

“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,” a statement from NBCUniversal Chief Executive Jeff Shell read, according to the Hollywood Reporter in a piece published Monday. (RELATED: REPORT: Coachella Potentially Rescheduled To October Due To Coronavirus Fears)

“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 statement added.  (RELATED: Pearl Jam Postpones North American Tour Over Growing Coronavirus Concerns)

The statement continued, “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,” Shell explained.

The titles of the movies include, the upcoming “Trolls World Tour,” which opens April 10. And starting Friday, movies that are already out in theaters will be made available. Those include, “The Invisible Man,” “The Hunt” and “Emma,” per the Los Angeles Times.

According to the outlet:

Movies will be made available on a wide variety of 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 NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell. Insiders say it isn’t a blanket policy for the studio’s entire 2020 calendar and that decisions regarding other titles and the duration of the policy haven’t been made yet.

This after countries have taken steps to close theaters in some 32 or more markets overseas and partially closed in another 15 territories amid fear of spreading COVID-19. Most if not all movie houses in the United States have either closed or are expected to go dark by this weekend.