Coronavirus: New Universal Pictures Available on Demand

NBCUniversal on Monday announced its current movies from the Universal Pictures stable — including the upcoming event family movie Trolls World Tour — will be made available on demand at the same time they hit those theaters that remain open during the coronavirus pandemic.

The new policy collapses the traditional theatrical window as the film industry grapples with unprecedented circumstances. Cinemas are entirely closed  in 32 or more markets overseas and partially closed in another 15 territories, while more countries expected to follow suit.

Most, if not all, cinemas are likely to go dark this week in the U.S., where theaters have already been ordered to go dark in New York City and Los Angeles.

Other locales are also seeing closures, while circuits staying open are starting to limit capacity to 50 people per auditorium per new CDC guidelines.

Movies will be made available on a wide variety of on-demand services for a 48-hour rental period at a suggested retail price of $19.99 in the U.S. and the price equivalent in international markets.

The announcement was made by NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell. This isn’t a blanket policy for the studio’s entire 2020 calendar and that decisions regarding other titles and the duration of the policy haven’t been made yet. Rather, the studio is hoping to provide options for consumers who cannot or should not go to cinemas.