Good news for families! Those movies you wanted to see in theater are (mostly) going to be hitting home video or streaming super early. With public gatherings heavily discouraged or outright banned across the country, several movie studios are putting their new movies the only venue accessible to the most people during the coronavirus pandemic: the living room.
The latest studio to send a theatrical release to home-video early is Pixar. Even though Onward only hit theaters a few weeks ago (on March 6) Disney and Pixar have announced the Chris Pratt-led animated feature will be available to stream on Disney+ on April 3. Depending on what historical metric you use, this is about six months early for home video, and possibly a full year early for “free streaming.”
Earlier in March, NBCUniversal announced that current movies from Universal Pictures will be available on-demand on the same day that they come to the few theaters that remain open.
Frozen II, which was released last November, came to Disney+ on Sunday, months ahead of schedule and just weeks after its debut on physical media and On Demand. Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker also came to on-demand days before its originally scheduled release, which was actually today.
It’s been more reticent to shrink the window between theater and home release for films that have yet to premiere in theaters. Disney chose to keep Mulan, the live-action remake of the animated film; The New Mutants, a new X-Men movie; and Antlers, a science fiction-horror film, out of theaters indefinitely. But the biggest Disney delay has to be Black Widow, the first post-Infinity Saga film in the MCU that was supposed to come out on May 1.
Other recently released films, including Birds of Prey and Call of the Wild, are coming to on-demand earlier than expected, likely seeking to reach a literally captive audience.
Sony is pursuing a similar strategy with a slew of other films, including Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Morbius, and Uncharted. Greyhound, a Tom Hanks World War II movie was delayed indefinitely, but interestingly Fatherhood, a drama starring Kevin Hart, was moved up to late October from an early January release.
On April 1, Universal announced how it’s changing its upcoming slate. Minions: The Rise of Gru was pushed a year, to 4th of July weekend 2021. That was the weekend Sing 2 was supposed to hit theaters; it’s now on the books for the holiday season. And Wicked, the long-awaited adaptation of the Broadway musical originally slated for the holidays, was delayed indefinitely.
That’s a lot to keep track of, so here’s an up-to-date list of all of the coronavirus-caused changes to the movie release schedule.
Coming to Streaming Early
- Frozen II (Pixar) – on Disney+ now
- Onward (Pixar) – on VOD now, Disney+ on April 3
In Theaters and On-Demand Simultaneously
- Trolls World Tour (Universal) – April 10, 2020
- The Invisible Man (Universal) – in theaters now, on-demand as early as March 20, 2020
- The Hunt (Universal) – in theaters now, on-demand as early as March 20, 2020
- Emma (Focus Features) – in theaters now, on-demand as early as March 20, 2020
Coming to Video-On-Demand Early
- Birds of Prey (Warner Bros.) – March 24, 2020
- The Gentlemen (STX Films) – March 24, 2020
- Call of the Wild (20th Century) – March 27, 2020
- Downhill (Searchlight) – March 27, 2020
Delayed with a new release date
- Fatherhood (Sony) – October 23, 2020 (moved up)
- No Time to Die (MGM) – November 25, 2020
- Peter Rabbit II (Sony) – January 15, 2021
- Morbius (Sony) – March 19, 2021
- Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Sony) – March 5, 2021
- F9 (Universal) – April 2, 2021
- Minions: The Rise of Gru (Universal) – July 2, 2021
- Uncharted (Sony) – October 8, 2021
- Sing 2 (Illumination) – December 22, 2021
- Mulan (Disney)
- The New Mutants (20th Century)
- Antlers (Searchlight)
- A Quiet Place II (Paramount)
- Black Widow (Marvel Studios)
- Greyhound (Sony)
- Wicked (Universal)