(Pocket-lint) - Universal Studios is reportedly releasing some of its latest films currently in cinemas - including The Invisible Man, The Hunt, and Emma - on digital streaming platforms starting Friday 20 March.
It is, therefore, breaking the traditional theatrical window, in which films are in theatres for three months before they're available on-demand. The studio's newer movies will be rentable for $20, according to The Hollywood Reporter. And its upcoming film Trolls World Tour, set to premiere 10 April, will also be available to rent on-demand the same day it releases in theatres, Deadline reported.
Universal Studio is, of course, making this decision due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, and because the CDC, WHO, and Trump administration are actively warning against gatherings of 10 or more people. Many states and localities across the US have also mandated that movie theatres close, all in an attempt to help limit the spread of COVID-19, an official pandemic.
There are more than 167,000 COVID-19 cases across 100+ countries, with roughly 6,500 deaths at this time of writing.
As a safety precaution, most tech companies are even canceling their annual conferences and events. Here's a list of all the major shows that have been cancelled so far. Multiple films, including No Time to Die and the ninth Fast and Furious, have also been delayed due to the virus.
We suspect many studios are reluctant to make this year's biggest blockbusters available immediately through streaming services, but if the pandemic lasts months, that might change. Over the weekend, revenue at the North American box office sank to a 20-year low.
COVID-19 could forever change the traditional theatrical window as we know it.