Universal releasing new movies to stream early including ‘Trolls World Tour,’ ‘The Invisible Man,’ ‘Emma,’ ‘The Hunt’

Credit: Universal Pictures

Credit: Universal Pictures

Originally posted Monday, March 16, 2020 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Along with bars and restaurants, movie theaters are another endangered gathering space for the time bing. Last weekend, box office grosses were the lowest in two decades.

Now Universal Pictures is taking an unprecedented move by offering up movies that would otherwise be limited to movie theaters as on-demand streaming options such as “Trolls World Tour” on April 10 and films such as “The Invisible Man,” “Emma” and “The Hunt” that were recently released.

Those latter three films will be available as early as this Friday for $19.99 apiece for a 48-hour window.

“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,” read a statement this morning.

Standard scheduling gives movie theaters a 90-day window to show films exclusively. But Universal is breaking that exclusivity window and other studios may quickly follow suit.

This does not bode well for the future of movie theaters. This New York Times story reflects the angst