With the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic looming over the country, what will film studios do to keep the money flowing in? Universal Pictures has made a brilliant move in response to that question.
The entertainment industry has taken a huge hit over the past week with Broadway going dark and theme parks closing for the remainder of the month. According to Deadline, highly-anticipated movie openings including A Quiet Place Part II and Disney’s live-action Mulan are being pushed back. Film studios such as Universal Pictures are likely concerned with the thought of empty theaters since people are being encouraged to stay home and practice “social distancing.”
Theaters are responding in different ways to the current crisis. Some areas are mandating that they close entirely for the next few weeks (along with other “entertainment venues”), while both AMC and Regal Cinemas have adapted social distancing measures. These measures include selling only 50% of the seating capacity at each screening, and providing enhanced cleaning of its spaces.
Now Universal Pictures has upped the ante with their decision to make three of their newer releases available on VOD streaming platforms as of this coming Friday, March 20. The Invisible Man, featuring The Handmaid’s Tale star Elizabeth Moss is the biggest film announced. Also available will be The Hunt (which opened on Friday, March 13), and Emma, which opened in February.
Each of the films will be available to rent for 48 hours at a suggested rate of $19.99. Since most Americans will likely be stuck at home with few entertainment options, this seems to be a very smart move; one that will continue to bring in money for Universal Pictures during what would otherwise be a period of near-total financial loss.
It remains to be seen whether other film studios will take note and follow suit, but that would probably be a wise move.
For more information about COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control’s website or the website for your state’s Department of Health.
Are you planning to self-quarantine during the next few weeks, or will you continue to seek outside entertainment? Let us know what you’re thinking in the comments section.