Now that a novel virus threatens the daily existence of millions across America, going to a movie theater seems like a ridiculous and irresponsible use of time and money. Major film studios know that theaters are effectively closed for the foreseeable future, with profits from movie theater ticket sales plummeting around the nation.
And so, in a creative solution to keep profits up and keep their big-budget films on screens, many studios have made their newly released and poorly timed films, which would ordinarily be in theaters at the moment, available for early streaming on several platforms. Here is a list of the most notable movies released early from theaters onto streaming services and where you can find them as you wait at home for life to start again.
“The Invisible Man”
Originally released February 28, this sci-fi horror is now available for 48-hour rental through Amazon Prime and iTunes, as well as other online streaming companies and certain cable companies such as Comcast. Starring Elizabeth Moss and opening to great acclaim from critics (with a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes), the film follows a woman as she is terrorized by her scientist ex-boyfriend who uses his powers to become invisible after he is believed to have killed himself.
Though there is a long list of film adaptations of Jane Austen’s classic romantic comedy, this interpretation of “Emma,” the directorial debut of photographer and music video director Autumn de Wilde, is sure to stand out for its stunning visuals and perfectly-timed moments of comedy. With a talented and well-cast ensemble of actors, “Emma” is now available for 48-hour rental through online stores such as Amazon Prime and iTunes and through cable companies like Comcast.
Disney and Pixar’s newest animated film was originally released on March 6, just before the outbreak of COVID-19 spread to the United States. But to save the film from being an utter flop, the giant studios have decided to release it for purchase through YouTube and Google Play, as well as for streaming on Disney Plus starting April 3. It follows two elf brothers who go on a road trip adventure to seek out the magic needed to spend a day with their father, who died when they were young.
Making nearly $1.5 billion since its release in November, Disney’s highly-anticipated sequel to 2013’s “Frozen” is hardly a financial failure for the studio, though it continued to run in theaters across the world at the onset of the coronavirus in the U.S. a few weeks ago. And so the studio has decided to make it available early on its streaming service Disney Plus, where subscribers can enjoy the crowd-pleasing film again or watch it for the first time.
Based on lawyer Bryan Stevenson’s memoir about his experiences attempting to reform a corrupt criminal justice system in the American South, “Just Mercy” was originally given a wide release in theaters in January. Though it was never a box office hit, the film was received well by critics and audiences alike. In order to make it available early to home audiences, Warner Bros. decided to pull it from theaters and make it available for purchase through several online stores such as YouTube, Amazon Prime and Google Play.
Disastrously timed with a release date of March 13, this sci-fi action film stars Vin Diesel as the titular superhero who is enhanced through nanotechnology into a superhuman capable of mass destruction and massive revenge. The film barely made any money in its first weekend in theaters, so Sony Pictures made the decision to make the film available for digital purchase through Amazon Prime, iTunes, Vudu and other streaming services beginning March 24, less than two weeks after its theatrical release.
“Birds of Prey”
This Harley Quinn action film returns audiences to the world of the “Suicide Squad” films and to actress Margot Robbie’s crazed and colorful interpretation of the central character. Opening last month to mixed reviews and slow box office success, the film follows Quinn post-breakup with the Joker as she navigates threats on her life with the help of three other female killers. It will be available for digital purchase through Amazon Prime, iTunes and other streaming platforms beginning March 24.