Universal Supporting VOD During Pandemic More Than Any Other Studio

Don’t know about you, but I’m really, really, really missing movie theaters. The sooner we get them back, the better.

That said, I like the whole theater at home VOD surge. Thank you, studios, for giving us titles we should be seeing in the theaters at home. Thank you for realizing the theatrical window right now is irrelevant and pointless. Thank you for giving us entertainment to take our minds off the elephant in the room.

I want to publicly thank Universal for embracing VOD (see Universal will break theatrical window with Trolls World Tour available for same day streaming) more than any other studio in these unprecedented times.

Universal leads the pack in establishing the new normal for premium on demand (PVOD). It made “The Hunt,” “The Invisible Man,” and Focus Features’ “Emma” — all cut off at the knees when theaters closed around the country — available for rental March 20 ($19.99 for 48 hours) on multiple platforms. Other studios followed suit … and now Focus will put Eliza Hittman’s Sundance and Berlin prize-winner “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” one of the best-reviewed movies of the year, on demand April 3.

Focus Sends ‘Never Rarely Sometimes Always’ to Premium On Demand | IndieWire

Say whatever you want about the Universal movies being good, bad or indifferent movies, but the mere fact they are promoting and pushing their movies on VOD is a great thing.

I will remember Universal’s support for moviegoers forced to only enjoy movies at home right now. The movie theater association (NATO as they are known) throwing shade at Universal is stupid and ill-placed. They should be embracing the movie watching experience wherever and whenever right now, so when theaters reopen people will not feel like the movie watching experience itself wasn’t the most important thing, not where we watch movies.

Moviegoers are supporting VOD of course. It’s the only viable place to watch newer movies right now, especially with stay at home shelter in place orders. Many people cannot go outside except for work (if working for an essential/critical business), emergencies and to shop for groceries.

At this point, nearly all 2020 wide-release films — as well as key specialized titles — are either available for home viewing, or soon will be. And the initial impact is dramatic. Based on the charts at iTunes and Amazon, which are updated daily, premium sales (largely priced at $19.99) are flying high.

Farewell, Box Office: This Was the Week That Premium VOD Charts Took Flight – Indiewire

Alas, we’ve gone backwards in China as theaters were closed again that were reopened. Athought reports seem to suggest that they will reopen again soon. I continue to target May 1 as a date when everything starts returning to normal, but there is another date at least in our state that I’m keeping my eyes on.

April 9. I’m looking at buying a new car and the dealership that is closed tells me that is when they are planning on reopening their showroom. Tribal casinos nearby are also suggesting the second week in April they might be reopening. I don’t know if either of these dates are too soon or not, but want to end this post optimistically.

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