Universal Is Killing the Theatrical Release Window Because of the Coronavirus

Universal Hunt

The theatrical release window is the time that movies are only shown in theaters before being released to the home video market. It’s generally 90 days and really popular films will take even longer to release to Blu Ray and digital after they’re in theaters.

Theaters have essentially negotiated this with studios as it’s the only thing keeping theaters afloat. Once people figure out that watching films in theaters isn’t a good experience, much less one necessary to enjoying movies, that’s the end of the entire industry.

Universal Pictures, in cooperation with the coronavirus, may have just killed that window. Variety is reporting that Universal is going to release the films it’s currently showing theatrically to the home video market for the low, low price of $20 for a two day rental.

The move is a response to falling theatrical receipts in light of the global pandemic because it turns out most people don’t want to risk killing their grandparents to see Onward. Universal wants to make some of that lost revenue up so The Hunt, The Invisible Man and the newest version of Emma will all be available this Friday, and other upcoming films like Trolls World Tour will be available for home viewing the same day as their theatrical release.

Even at $20 for a 48-hour rental, I think this is the beginning of the end of theatrical movies. It’s cheaper than two tickets to the theater, the studio gets a larger cut and you can watch from your couch. You can use your phone or iPad without getting assaulted by an Alamo Drafthouse theater ninja. If this becomes the standard, there’s really no reason to ever leave your house to see a movie again.

“Oh, but I like movie theater popcorn, it just tastes better.!” It’s called Flavacol, it’s like $6 for two pounds of it, you’re welcome.

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