A decision by Universal Pictures to quickly make movies available on VOD services due to the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the inevitable.
A decision by Universal Pictures to quickly make movies available on VOD services due to the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the inevitable. Titles including The Invisible Man, Emma, and The Hunt, which are still in
their theatrical windows, are now all available for download on pirate sites, just hours after release.
For the major Hollywood studios and industry body the MPA, theatrical windows have always been something to vigorously protect.
Supporting the big screen experience and the massive infrastructure
behind it is a top priority for the industry overall, not to mention a crucial revenue stream.
Slowly but surely, however, theatrical windows have shortened due to various pressures but nevertheless, day and date cinema and VOD releases have remained a distant prospect for major titles. Then coronavirus happened.
In common with hundreds of business sectors and individuals around the world, the spread of the virus is having a profound effect on cinemas. As preventative measures are put in place, revenues are reportedly down to the lowest levels in twenty-five years. On the other hand, services that can be accessed at home – Netflix for example – are enjoying a boom in usage.
In an effort to cushion the blow, earlier this week Universal Pictures announced that it would be releasing some of its newest movies, that are technically still in their theatrical windows, on digital platforms for rental. As a result, The Invisible Man, The Hunt, and Emma all went on sale Friday at around the $20 mark.
How well these movies will be received and in what volumes consumed
remains to be seen but within hours of them appearing on official platforms, the inevitable happened. At the time of writing, all are available for free downloading and streaming on dozens of pirate sites.
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