Just yesterday, amid rapidly growing concern over the coronavirus, Universal made the call to release some of its newer films on VOD much earlier than usual. The Invisible Man, The Hunt, and Emma. will all arrive on digital platforms this Friday, March 20. On the heels of that announcement, Warner Bros. has also moved to release DC’s Birds Of Prey and Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen on VOD earlier than anticipated. That’s good news for, well, the majority of society; with most of us stuck indoors, it might not take very long for our complaints about having “too much TV” to become a thing of the past. So it’s probably good to have a few more options. Per Variety’s reporting, Warner Bros. will make Birds Of Prey available for digital purchase on March 24; those looking to rent the film will have to wait until April.
From a moviegoer’s standpoint, being able to see these movies—which had their theatrical runs cut short—feels like great news. But for the movie theater business, which was already anticipating a bumpy year with no new Avengers or Star Wars titles, this move could set a precedent that deals yet another blow to a struggling industry. How and when theaters might be able to recover is just another question mark on a huge pile of question marks right now.