With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to affect nearly every facet of life, including some governors moving to temporarily shutter movie theaters, Comcast NBCUniversal announced a potentially industry-altering change: It will allow customers to view new films at home through video on demand the same day as their theatrical release.
Trolls World Tour, slated to open in the U.S. on April 10, will be the first to kick off the new initiative.
The company also announced that some movies currently in theaters will be available to be streamed at home beginning Friday. The Invisible Man and Emma—along with The Hunt, which debuted last week—will be available for a two-day digital rental for $19.99 in the U.S. and the equivalent price in overseas markets.
"Rather than delaying these films or releasing them into a challenged distribution landscape, we wanted to provide an option for people to view these titles in the home that is both accessible and affordable," Jeff Shell, the CEO of NBCUniversal, said in a statement.
The move by Comcast NBCUniversal will likely be viewed as a major setback for multiplexes, which have long relied on studios' months-long waiting periods after a theatrical release to make films available on at-home streaming.