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All the new movies on demand due to COVID-19


All the new movies on demand due to COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic threw 2020’s movie calendar into chaos, delaying summer releases and halting production on numerous other films. Some have already settled into later release dates (including the new James Bond movie and this year’s Marvel spinoffs), but others wound up streaming online instead. Here’s a guide to all the new movies on demand in 2020.

New theatrical movies on demand

Originally scheduled for theatrical release, these films have shifted onto online streaming platforms like Disney+ and Netflix.

1) Artemis Fowl

Disney’s adaptation of children’s fantasy novel Artemis Fowl was originally due out in theaters on May 29. Now it will debut on Disney+ instead, arriving on an unspecified date. It’s the first live-action Disney movie to make the jump, but don’t expect Mulan or any MCU spinoffs to follow suit. Disney relies on ticket sales from its tentpole franchises, whereas Artemis Fowl was more of a B-list release.

2) The Lovebirds

This rom-com starring Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae was originally meant to come out on April 3, but it’s now been acquired by Netflix instead, expected to come out in April or May.

3) Trolls World Tour

The animated Trolls sequel was released simultaneously in theaters and on digital rental on April 10. A strategic choice because many parents are looking for ways to keep their kids entertained during lockdown.

Various films from the SXSW film festival

The cancelation of SXSW meant that a whole slew of indie movies lost their original premiere dates, missing out on early reviews and festival buzz. On April 2, Amazon and SXSW announced a partnership to premiere some of the festival’s content on Amazon Prime, available for 10 days to U.S. subscribers. Amazon hasn’t revealed when that 10-day online festival will be, or which movies will be available, but we expect an announcement soon.

2020 movies with early digital release dates

Usually there’s a gap of several months between a film’s theatrical and home release. But movies that came out in March 2020 arrived on the cusp of the coronavirus pandemic, missing out on their audience as people began to stay home. Several studios decided to bite the bullet and give their films an unusually early home release, capitalizing on audiences looking for something to stream during lockdown.

So far, these new movies have been made available on demand 1-3 weeks after their theatrical release:

  • Jane Austen adaptation Emma, released digitally on March 20.
  • Satirical horror movie The Hunt, released digitally on March 20.
  • The Invisible Man, released digitally on March 20.
  • Disney’s animated movie Onward, released digitally on March 20, and streaming on American Disney+ on April 3.
  • DC superhero movie Birds of Prey, released digitally on March 24.
  • Ben Affleck sports drama The Way Back, released digitally on March 24.
  • Vin Diesel superhero movie Bloodshot, released digitally on March 24.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog, released digitally on March 31
  • Acclaimed abortion drama Never Rarely Sometimes Always, released digitally on April 3.

We’ll see more films getting early home releases in the coming weeks, especially if lockdowns and social distancing continue beyond summer. This probably won’t happen to blockbusters like Wonder Woman 1984 (delayed from June to August) or Christopher Nolan’s new movie Tenet (likely to be delayed beyond its July release date), but we could see some indie films get picked up by Netflix and Amazon. However, indie studio A24 still plans to release delayed titles like First Cow and the hotly anticipated horror movie Saint Maud in theaters, making the most of their earlier critical buzz.


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*First Published: Apr 17, 2020, 1:58 pm

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a staff writer at the Daily Dot, covering geek culture and fandom. Specializing in sci-fi movies and superheroes, she also appears as a film and TV critic on BBC radio. Elsewhere, she co-hosts the pop culture podcast Overinvested. Follow her on Twitter: @Hello_Tailor

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