Earlier today Universal Pictures made big waves by announcing their intention to put several of their movies, including ones that are still in theaters, out on VOD. This is a move that everyone has known was on the horizon but no one was really able to take the plunge. So we can thank coronavirus and the shutting down of multiple theater chains for studios to finally try VOD for more current releases. Disney moved up VOD and streaming releases of two of their movies but earlier today Birds of Prey director Cathy Yan said that she would support the movie going to VOD early.
I would not be opposed to putting Birds of Prey on VOD earlier. https://t.co/TrKynikHLx
— Cathy Yan (@CathyYan) March 16, 2020
It seems that someone was listening to Yan's request because Fandango posted that VOD releases of Birds of Prey and Guy Ritchie's The Gentlemen will both be available next week.
Birds of Prey and The Gentlemen are moving up their VOD dates to 3/24. You can preorder them both at FandangoNOW and plan your next week's entertainment! pic.twitter.com/Kqh00YqUDW
— Fandango (@Fandango) March 17, 2020
Now, there are a few things of note here. One: out of all of these movies Trolls World Tour is probably the only one with a budget north of $100 million. A movie with a small budget has less to lose by going to VOD early. The second is that The Invisible Man is really the only one out of all of these movies that could be considered a hit. Both Birds of Prey and The Gentlemen did okay and made back their budgets, Birds of Prey made $199 million on an $85 million budget and The Gentlemen made $114 million on a $22 million budget, but they didn't exactly light the world on fire. Warner Bros. and STX Films are smart to release these underperforming movies into a world of people quarantined in their homes.
That being said, this in no way means that Disney is going to follow suit and drop Mulan in theaters. That movie has a massive $200 million dollar budget plus at least another $100 million in marketing. That movie needs the box office. If Disney was going to drop a movie on VOD the smart choice would be Onward which is just getting killed because of the coronavirus. And maybe The New Mutants could jump on Hulu since that movie cannot catch a break. Either way these VOD releases are going to be tests; if pirating explodes no one is going to do it again. So put your money where your mouth is if you're a fan of the idea of VOD new releases. If we blow this we might kill the idea for good.
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, directed by Cathy Yan, stars Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, Chris Messina, Ella Jay Basco, and Ewan McGregor.
The Gentlemen, directed by Guy Ritchie, stars Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, Eddie Marsan, Colin Farrell, and Hugh Grant.