The first step was taken by Universal Pictures, which announced this Monday the arrival of three new productions to streaming or on demand services, even with these still in theaters. The films in question are "The Hunt", "The Invisible Man" and "Emma" and the decision makes this the first old Hollywood studio to approach the new distribution timings.
Universal Pictures thus breaks the long tradition of granting movie theaters an exclusivity period of about 90 days. Now, the company claims the right to be able to show or make films available on other platforms, even when they are still showing in cinemas. "We believe that people will continue to go to see movies in theaters, but we also know that for many people in different parts of the world this is becoming less and less possible," said Jeff Shell, executive director of NBC Universal, the company that owns the studios, in communicated.
Through platforms like iTunes and Amazon Prime Video, these are the first films to stick to the scheme, but Universal Pictures will not stop there. The animated sequel “Trolls World Tour” is scheduled to premiere on April 10 and will arrive simultaneously with rental services for 20 dollars. The option can now be taken into account by other Hollywood decision makers.
The trend seems logical, considering the rise of streaming platforms, but it is clearly being precipitated by the Covid-19 outbreak and the consequent isolation as a contingency measure. Contacted The New York Times, the second largest cinema chain in the United States, Regal Theaters, admitted to closing its 542 theaters, starting this Tuesday. In New York the closure of these spaces has already been decreed. In Los Angeles, all rooms must be closed by March 31.
The last weekend was, by the way, the worst ever in the business. In the United States, box office revenues totaled $ 55.3 million (almost 50 million euros), a historic low that represents a 44% drop from the previous weekend. In view of these figures, cinema has no alternative but to take refuge in the comfort of home.
The Observer is the impossible project, which was launched without advertising, without much money and with the audacity to be different. We had only one argument: our journalism, our work, our reports and investigations, our ability to innovate and create new products, our boldness in dealing with new topics, our courage in breaking with ideas made, our youth. Today we are visited regularly by seven million readers every month and we have become a central reference in Portugal. Today more than ever, it is all of these readers who make the Observer, just as the Observer contributed to making their lives as citizens richer. Not least because no citizenship survives without a free press, paid for by its readers.