“These are confusing times.”
The coronavirus pandemic is literally changing the world, day-by-day and minute-by-minute. Things that were unheard of a month ago are now reality, and that’s absolutely true with the traditional movie theater distribution model. Just over the last twenty-four hours, the largest theater chains in the country have shut down for up to three months.
In addition to that, Universal is debuting some of their movies on VOD immediately, including the new Trolls sequel the day it was meant to release in theaters. Comcast/Universal is using their own streaming platform to facilitate the rentals for those movies, as opposed to just being able to rent/buy them from places like Apple or Amazon. Disney also cut short the traditional home video window for Frozen II this weekend on Disney+, and other movies such as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Birds of Prey have released on digital HD earlier than expected.
Those moves are the most interesting as it’s very possible that others are looking at that, and what’s going on in the world, to make a very disruptive move to save their movies in the light of theaters being shuttered for months at a time.
I am not saying this is certain to happen, as everything is so fluid with this pandemic that things are changing by the second, but what if Black Widow isn’t delayed from its May 1st date…even if it can’t play in theaters?
Would you be willing to pay more for a tier of Disney+ that gave you access to movies such as Black Widow, New Mutants, and Eternals on the same day they were supposed to release in theaters? I’m talking about something like the top-tier Netflix subscription or something like HBO Max, not the current $7 price people are paying for Disney+.
It’d obviously be a controversial move, and one that would seriously harm movie theaters. But with the way the world is changing right now, and with theaters closed for months right now, what other option is there?
It’s very interesting that we haven’t heard new release dates for Mulan or New Mutants from Disney. It’s possible that with the changing environment those movies haven’t received new dates because they might be planning a very disruptive change to the industry involving their new streaming platform, one that could allow Marvel fans to watch Black Widow from the comfort of their own home.