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Universal Pictures moves to release movies currently in theaters to On Demand

The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak is prompting much of America to stay home, and in response to that, one studio is releasing films currently in theaters via On Demand. 

Universal Pictures announced on Monday, March 16, that some of its current films would be released for streaming on Xfinity On Demand starting this week, CNBC reports. The Comcast-owned studio will release movies such as Emma, The Invisible Man, and The Hunt. Troll’s World Tour, set to hit theaters April 10, will debut both in theaters and online on that date. 

You can rent these current movies for a two-day rental, reportedly as soon as Friday. If you think the prices will be lower than a movie theater, think again, since the suggested retail price will be $19.99.

Amid restaurants, bars, workplaces, schools, and more businesses closing because of the coronavirus, Universal decided to make movies available to movie lovers at home to lessen the blow to the film industry. 

“Given the rapidly evolving and unprecedented changes to consumers’ daily lives during this difficult time, the company felt that now was the right time to provide this option in the home as well as in theaters,” said Jeff Shell, CEO of NBCUniversal, in the company’s official statement. “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.”

Like most other industries right now, the movie industry has taken a big hit because of the coronavirus outbreak. Global box office receipts could take a $20 billion hits because of the coronavirus, according to The Hollywood Reporter. 

Not only is movie theater attendance slowing down, but the production of future blockbusters is also screeching to a halt. Big-name movies like No Time To Die, the next James Bond film, A Quiet Place Part II, Fast & Furious 9, and more have delayed their production or release. 

Digital Trends reached out to Disney to see if it would follow in Universal’s footsteps in releasing current movies like Onward or upcoming films like Mulan on its Disney+ platform. We will update this story when we hear back. 

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Allison Matyus
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Allison Matyus is a general news reporter at Digital Trends. She covers any and all tech news, including issues around social…
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