14 Movies Now Streaming Early, From 'Onward' To 'The Invisible Man'
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has completely upended the entertainment industry. Production on nearly every TV and film set has been delayed, most upcoming film premieres have been pushed back indefinitely, and a growing number of movie theaters are closed across the U.S. In order to survive, some movie studios are getting creative by allowing movies still in theaters to stream early. A growing number of new films are ditching the traditional theatrical release window and are instead heading directly into peoples homes, offering viewers the chance to stream the movies immediately rather than waiting for theaters to reopen.
Different movies have taken a different approach to these early home releases. Some of the films that people are able to stream early have already exited theaters and were scheduled to arrive on digital platforms at a later date, but those dates have since been moved up days, weeks, or even months. Others were movies that were in theaters when the outbreak began, and are now offering viewers the chance to purchase their streaming ticket from their couch. And third, some movies that aren't in theaters yet have chosen not to delay their release and are instead opting to head straight to home viewing.
To see all the major new releases you can stream early right now, take a look at the list below. Unless otherwise noted, all films are available to be digitally purchased or rented through major online retailers such as Amazon, iTunes, or your cable provider on the dates listed.
The latest Pixar release hit theaters on March 6, and just two weeks later it saw a home release for digital purchase on March 20. Even better, the film is set to hit Disney+ for subscribers on April 3, a remarkably fast turnaround for the service.
2. 'Frozen II'
The blockbuster animated sequel was originally scheduled to arrive on Disney+ on June 26, but due to the outbreak, Disney moved the date up more than three months and began streaming the film on March 15. It's currently available for free to Disney+ subscribers.
3. 'Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker'
The end of the Star Wars Skywalker saga was scheduled for home release on March 17, but it ended up being released a few days earlier on March 13. It's currently available to purchase from online retailers.
4. 'The Invisible Man'
The Universal monster movie reboot was a hit, potentially paving the way for future cinematic revivals of its iconic brethren like Frankenstein and Dracula. The film arrived in theaters on Feb. 28, and on March 20 it was made available to rent at online retailers. However, since this film is still in its theatrical release window, the rental price is the same as a traditional purchase price: $19.99 for a 48-hour rental.
This film, which is based on the Jane Austen novel of the same name, arrived in theaters on Valentine's Day. And like its Universal Pictures stablemate The Invisible Man, it headed to digital release on March 20. It, too, is available for a 48-hour rental for $19.99.
6. 'The Hunt'
The third of Universal's current theatrical releases, this violent political satire brought its controversial storyline to theaters on March 13. Just a week later and it was available to rent at home, for the now-familiar 48-hour rate of $19.99.
Vin Diesel's new superhero movie was also released on March 13, but it isn't available to rent quite yet. The movie will hit online stores for rentals on March 24, and though pricing has not yet been revealed, it seems extremely likely that this Sony release will be priced the same as the previous trio of Universal films.
8. 'Birds Of Prey'
Another superhero movie, this female-led ensemble debuted in cinemas back on Feb. 7, and wasn't expected for digital release for a while. But due to coronavirus, things changed. The Margot Robbie film will be available for digital purchase on March 24, and for online rentals starting April 7.
9. 'I Still Believe'
10. 'Sonic The Hedgehog'
The surprise blockbuster based on the popular videogames was able to make a good run of it at theaters before the pandemic ground everything to a halt, but it's still rushing toward an early home release. The film will be available for digital purchase on March 31, well before you'll be able to buy a physical copy on May 19.
11. 'The Way Back'
Ben Affleck's art-imitating-life basketball drama hit theaters on March 6, but failed to make much of an impact on the box office due in part to the virus. It will try and win back some of its losses by becoming available to purchase digitally on March 24.
12. 'Just Mercy'
This Michael B. Jordan drama, which debuted in theaters on Christmas, is currently available for online purchase. On March 24, you'll also be able to rent it on-demand.
13. 'The Gentleman'
Guy Ritchie's latest outrageous crime film arrived in theaters on Jan. 24, and it's getting an early home release date of just two months later on March 24. On that date, you'll be able to purchase the film online.
14. 'Trolls World Tour'
This upcoming animated sequel is scheduled to hit theaters on April 10, but since it remains to be seen how many theaters will even be open on that date, the movie is also hitting digital home rentals the same day for $19.99.
With no end to the pandemic in site and more movie theaters closing by the day, we could be looking at a new normal of how people watch new movies.