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NBCUniversal Breaks Theatrical Window

You won’t have to wait months before you can watch the new movies from home. NBCUniversal announced today that its movie studio Universal Pictures as well as their specialty label Focus Features, will be releasing their projects both in theaters and on-demand at the same time.

That being said, insiders say that this isn’t a blanket policy for the studio’s entire 2020 calendar. Decisions regarding the duration of the policy and which films will be included have not yet been made.

This is of course, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic which has already led to the closures of several movie theaters. Most, if not all will be completely shut off by the end of the week.

“Universal Pictures has a broad and diverse range of movies with 2020 being no exception,” said NBCUniversal Jeff Shell. “Rather than delaying these films or releasing them into a challenged distribution landscape, we want to provide an option for people to view these titles in the home that is both accessible and affordable.”

The first films to take part in the policy are “The Invisible Man” and “The Hunt.” While they are already playing in theaters, these two will officially go to on demand starting next week. Then on April 10, one will be able to watch “Trolls World Tour” in the comfort of their homes during its initial release.

While the decision to do this could come to an end once the virus disappears, it raises a lot of questions about how the pandemic will affect the theatrical movie business. Some, like Rich Greenfield of research firm LightShed Partners believe this will shift the business into streaming. In fact, Greenfield predicts that most of the global exhibition business will be in bankruptcy by the end of this year.

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