New movies that flopped at the box office, from 'Onward' to 'Bloodshot,' are gaining popularity as $20 digital early releases
- Movies that have become available on digital platforms early as theaters close due to the coronavirus are now popular on iTunes and Fandango Now.
- They include Universal's "The Invisible Man" and Sony's "Bloodshot," which were in theaters within the last month.
- Some, like "Bloodshot," "The Hunt," and "Onward," flopped at the box office.
- This is likely a short-term solution for studios, though. The likelihood of big-budget movies that have been delayed this year heading straight to digital platforms is slim.
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Studios have released some new movies to digital platforms early as theaters shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. And those movies are already popular on video-on-demand services.
Some of them, like Vin Diesel's superhero movie "Bloodshot," Blumhouse's "The Hunt," and Pixar's "Onward," flopped at the box office. "Onward" debuted in theaters with the worst opening of any Pixar film in the Disney era with just $39 million domestically. And "Bloodshot" and "The Hunt" were two of the last movies to hit theaters before most cinemas in the US shut down.
But now it seems they have a second chance on digital.
Universal Pictures was the first studio to announce its early digital plan and it's the only studio truly breaking the theatrical window. Its Dreamworks animated movie, "Trolls World Tour," will head straight to digital on its original theatrical release date of April 10. It also made other movies that were new to the big screen available for digital purchase on Friday. They included "The Invisible Man," "The Hunt," and "Emma."
Other studios soon announced similar plans. Sony's "Bloodshot," which hit theaters earlier this month, and Warner Bros.' "Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)" which was in theaters last month, became available on Tuesday.
Below are new movies that have surged up the charts on VOD service iTunes and Fandango Now, as of Tuesday (they are all be available to purchase or rent, depending on the title, for $19.99):
- "The Invisible Man" was the No. 1 movie on Fandango Now and No. 8 on iTunes. It was one of the only hits of the year before theaters closed, with $123 million worldwide off of a $7 million budget.
- Pixar's "Onward" was the No. 1 movie on iTunes and No. 2 on Fandango Now. It debuted in theaters earlier this month with the worst opening for a Pixar movie of the Disney era and ultimately made a disappointing $103 million worldwide.
- "Birds of Prey" was the No. 3 movie on iTunes. It disappointed at the box office but wasn't a complete flop with $200 million worldwide.
- "Bloodshot," the superhero movie starring Vin Diesel, was No. 4 on iTunes. It made just $24 million worldwide.
- Blumhouse's "The Hunt," which fizzled with just $6 million at the domestic box office, was No. 4 on Fandango Now.
- "Emma" was No. 6 on Fandango Now. It made $25 million at the global box office.
- "Just Mercy," which got a wide theatrical release in January and made $94 million worldwide, was No. 10 on Fandango Now.
The digital strategy appears to be a short-term solution to the coronavirus crisis, as theaters across the US have shut down in response to national guidelines that limit public gatherings. The long-term impact remains to be seen, but studios remain committed to theatrical releases for delayed movies.
On Tuesday, Warner Bros. delayed the release of "Wonder Woman 1984" from June to August. On Friday, a Warner Bros. spokesperson disputed a report suggesting the movie could head to streaming.
The James Bond movie "No Time to Die" was the first major movie to face a delay, from April to November. "Fast and Furious 9" was pushed back a year to April 2021. Most movies that have been delayed this year, from "Mulan" to "Black Widow," do not have new release dates yet, though.
And the likelihood of big-budget movies like these skipping theaters and heading straight to digital or streaming platforms is slim.
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