7 movies you'll be able to watch at home much earlier than expected as theaters shut down

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7 movies you'll be able to watch at home much earlier than expected as theaters shut down

invisible man

Universal

Elisabeth Moss in "The Invisible Man"

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  • As major movie-theater chains close in the US due to the coronavirus, studios are breaking the traditional theatrical window and releasing movies early to video-on-demand.
  • They include Warner Bros.' "Birds of Prey," Sony's "Bloodshot," and Universal's "The Invisible Man."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

This story was originally published on March 17 and will be updated as more movies become available on digital early.

As theaters across the US close due to the coronavirus pandemic, movies that were recently on the big screen are arriving early on digital rental or streaming for audiences to watch at home.

Major theater chains like AMC Theatres and Regal announced on Monday they would shut down all US locations after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offered new guidelines to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

In an unprecedented move, Universal Pictures was the first to announced that it would break the traditional theatrical window and making four of its movies available on video-on-demand as early as Friday. That includes "Trolls: World Tour," which hadn't hit theaters yet (it was scheduled for April 10).

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"Bloodshot"

"Bloodshot"

Details: Sony announced on Wednesday that "Bloodshot," which hit theaters over the weekend with $9 million domestically and $24 million worldwide, would be available for digital purchase on March 24 for $19.99.

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 31%

What critics said: "Vin Diesel is dependable, if not especially challenged by a film that has most fun in the margins." — Time Out

"Just Mercy"

"Just Mercy"

Details: Warner Bros. announced that its real-life story was be available to buy at digital retailers on Tuesday and will be available on video-on-demand services on March 24. The movie, starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx, got a wide release in January and made $94 million worldwide.

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 83%

What critics said: "Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, 'Just Mercy' follows a predictable path that is nonetheless rousing due to the strength of its real-life elements." — Detroit News

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"Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)"

"Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)"

Details: "Birds of Prey," a DC Comics spin-off of "Suicide Squad," hit theaters on February 7 and will be available to buy for $19.99 on Amazon and iTunes on March 24 (and will be available to rent in April). The movie earned nearly $200 million worldwide.

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 78%

What critics said: "A bone-cracking visual feast, filled with screen-popping sets and costumes, enough hand-to-hand combat scenes to make Jason Statham seethe with envy, and a fantastic ensemble cast." — Chicago Sun-Times

"The Invisible Man"

"The Invisible Man"

Details: Universal and Blumhouse's monster-movie reboot, "The Invisible Man," hit theaters at just the right time on February 28, managing to gross $122 million worldwide off of a $7 million budget. Universal's early VOD releases, arriving as early as Friday, will likely cost $19.99 for a 48-hour rental.

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 91%

What critics said: "Leigh Whannell, who made the wildly entertaining, low-budget action film 'Upgrade,' has turned the classic science-fiction tale inside out and fashioned it into a tense, suspenseful story about a brutalized woman's journey from seclusion to visibility." — Houston Chronicle

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"The Hunt"

"The Hunt"

Details: Blumhouse's controversial thriller, "The Hunt," hit theaters over the weekend after being pushed from last year and disappointed at the box office with $5 million. The movie's initial September release was delayed after August mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas.

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 53%

What critics said: "It's regrettable that, despite all of its jabs at relevance, the movie has no desire to actually dig into the details of the anger felt by either side of the bloodsport event it imagines." — Vulture

"Emma"

"Emma"

Details: Another of Universal's recent theatrical releases to hit VOD early, "Emma" was in limited release last month before going wide this month. The period dramedy made $10 million domestically and $23 million worldwide.

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 85%

What critics said: "It's funnier than most Austen adaptations and more visually beautiful, and then there's the movie's odd tone, which combines a rigorous attention to period detail with an arch and seemingly modern sensibility." — San Francisco Chronicle

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"Trolls World Tour"

"Trolls World Tour"

Details: "Trolls World Tour" is scheduled for release on April 10. But with theaters closing across the US, Universal is releasing the movie on VOD on the same day.

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: N/A

What critics said: N/A

Also available early: "Frozen II"

Also available early: "Frozen II"

Details: Disney released "Frozen 2" on Disney Plus this week, three months earlier than it was expected to stream.

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 77%

What critics said: "Because the first movie generated such a bracing gust of enthusiasm, Frozen 2 will inevitably be nitpicked and judged against those lofty standards. Still, there's plenty to enjoy for those willing to chill out, and yes, let the past go." — CNN

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