Across the country, movie theatres are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But if you have an internet connection and a love for movies, quarantine doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying the cinematic experience. Quite the opposite: There are tons of movies being released early because of the coronavirus.
Film studios are racing to catch up with their homebound audiences, either delaying releases altogether or pulling movies from the big screen and providing them through streaming services and virtual film releases. If you prefer to tune out the outside world and hunker down with your immediate family (or settle in for that all-important “date night”), here’s an up-to-date list of films coming to digital and/or streaming services.
Frozen 2 arrived on Disney+ on March 15, three months before originally planned. In a statement, Bob Chapek, CEO of The Walt Disney Company said that the studio wanted to give families “some fun and joy during this challenging period.”
And for all those Olaf fans out there, Josh Gad is offering a nightly bedtime story on Twitter. Something that deserves two thumbs up.
The Way Back
On Thursday, Warner Bros. announced that The Way Back, the Ben Affleck basketball drama, will be available for digital release on March 24, about three weeks after hitting theaters on March 6.
How Warner Bros. Pictures describes the film: “Back in high school, Jack Cunningham (Affleck) had everything going for him. A basketball phenom, he could have punched his ticket to college or even the pros, but, instead, he chose to walk away from the game, forfeiting his future.
Jack’s glory days are long gone…but, as it turns out, not forgotten. Years later, he gets the chance to take back his life when he is asked to coach the struggling basketball team at his alma mater. Jack reluctantly accepts, surprising no one more than himself, and as the boys start to come together as a team and win, Jack may get his last shot at redemption.”
It’s no surprise that the company that brought us the happiest place on earth has produced one of the quickest turnarounds from theaters to digital. Disney Pixar’s animated film Onward is available for digital purchase for $19.99 as of Friday at 5 p.m. PST (8 p.m. EST). It will later come to Disney+ on April 3. The digital release comes just two weeks after it hit theaters on March 6.
What audiences can expect from Onward per Disney Pixar: “Ian & Barley, two teenage elf brothers (voiced by Chris Pratt and Tom Holland) who embark on an extraordinary quest to discover if there is still a little magic left out there.”
The Invisible Man
Universal’s reboot of The Invisible Man arrives on Friday for a 48-hour viewing window. The suggested price is $19.99, but with the movie’s popularity, it’s sure to be a streaming hit.
This thriller will have viewers on their edge of the seat. It’s storyline, per Universal Pictures: “Trapped in a violent, controlling relationship with a wealthy and brilliant scientist, Cecilia Kass (Elizabeth Moss) escapes in the dead of night and disappears into hiding, aided by her sister.
When Cecilia’s abusive ex (Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House) commits suicide and leaves her a generous portion of his vast fortune, Cecilia suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of eerie coincidences turns lethal, threatening the lives of those she loves, Cecilia’s sanity begins to unravel as she desperately tries to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see.”
Birds of Prey
According to Warner Bros., Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is now available for digital purchase and video on demand. The eighth film in the DC Extended Universe — and a sequel to Suicide Squad — has DC Comics fans psyched.
Warner Bros. Pictures teases, “When Gotham’s most nefariously narcissistic villain, Roman Sionis, and his zealous right-hand, Zsasz, put a target on a young girl named Cass, the city is turned upside down looking for her. Harley (Margot Robbie), Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya’s paths collide, and the unlikely foursome have no choice but to team up to take Roman down.”
Trolls World Tour
Forgoing a theatrical release altogether, Universal announced that the animated Trolls sequel will be available digitally on April 10.
Per Dreamworks, “In an adventure that will take them well beyond what they’ve known before, Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Branch (Justin Timberlake) discover that they are but one of six different Troll tribes scattered over six different lands and devoted to six different kinds of music: Funk, Country, Techno, Classical, Pop and Rock. Their world is about to get a lot bigger and a whole lot louder.”
Only 7 days after its March 13 release, Universal’s The Hunt went from its theatrical debut to video-on-demand (VOD). The release was initially canceled last year amid controversies about gun violence.
Universal Pictures describes the film ominously, “Twelve strangers wake up in a clearing. They don’t know where they are, or how they got there. They don’t know they’ve been chosen… for a very specific purpose… The Hunt.”
I Still Believe
The true-life story of Christian music star Jeremy Camp, this Lionsgate film will be available on streaming services on March 27.
What’s in store: “Jeremy’s remarkable journey of love and loss proves there is always hope in the midst of tragedy and that faith tested is the only faith worth sharing.”
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
The final installment of the Star Wars saga was made available for purchase on March 13 by Disney, days before originally planned.
Fans already know what IMDB spells out, “The surviving members of the resistance face the First Order once again, and the legendary conflict between the Jedi and the Sith reaches its peak bringing the Skywalker saga to its end.”
This Jane Austen adaptation will be available for a 48-hour rental period at a suggested retail price of $19.99. Initially, the film hit theaters on February 21, with a Video On Demand (VOD) debut only three weeks later.
From Focus Features, Emma. is “Handsome, clever, and rich.” Yes, she’s back. “Emma Woodhouse is a restless queen bee without rivals in her sleepy little town. In this glittering satire of social class and the pain of growing up, Emma must adventure through misguided matches and romantic missteps to find the love that has been there all along.”
Michael B. Jordan stars as lawyer Bryan Stevenson in the courtroom drama based on a true story. The film will be available for digital purchase on March 24 from Universal.
Per Warner Bros. Pictures: “Just Mercy” follows young lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) and his history-making battle for justice.
One of Stevenson’s first cases is that of Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), who, in 1987, was sentenced to die for the notorious murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite a preponderance of evidence proving his innocence and the fact that the only testimony against him came from a criminal with a motive to lie.”
Less than two weeks after its theatrical release, the sci-fi action film Bloodshot will be available for digital purchase on March 24.
The action film focuses on a marine (Vin Diesel) who is resurrected into a superhuman, biotech killing machine who discovers he and his wife’s murders were part of a larger conspiracy.
The Gentlemen, starring Matthew McConaughey, Michelle Dockery, Colin Farrell, Hugh Grant and Charlie Hunnam, is moving its VOD date to March 24.
The celeb-packed film follows American ex-pat Mickey Pearson (McConaughey), who built a marijuana empire in London. Per STX, the film’s production company, “When word gets out that he’s looking to cash out of the business forever it triggers plots, schemes, bribery and blackmail in an attempt to steal his domain out from under him.”
Adding an Audience: Netflix Party
If current releases aren’t your thing, there are lots of options to entertain and distract from your stay in the great indoors. Netflix has developed a Google Chrome browser extension that lets its users interact with friends while streaming their services — a sort of group chat for cinephiles.
Called “Netflix Party,” the extension lets multiple users watch Netflix at the same time. Once a program is selected, the user can send a link to friends to “invite” them to watch the show “together.” Invitees must also have the extension to participate. The extension also enables users to “chat” with each other via messaging while watching the program.
Business Insider reports that Netflix Party was updated last week to add seven extra servers, so even more friends can join the party.