The coronavirus pandemic has pushed studios to try various ways to release their movies. Moreover, as theatres have shut down in most countries, studios are trying to find solutions to this very messy situation. And that is where third-party streamers get in to save the day.
Paramount’s The Lovebirds, a comedy starring Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae, is the first movie during these trying times to skip a theatrical release altogether and head straight to Netflix. The movie was originally scheduled to release on April 3rd, however, Paramount notified that it has decided to instead release it directly on Netflix. Paramount CEO Jim Gianopulos has further added that Paramount and Netflix currently have a partnership comprising of a few titles. Notably, Paramount sold The Cloverfield Paradox to Netflix, which the streamer released following the Super Bowl in 2018 – surprising customers. Moreover, in 2018, Gianopulos told investors and analysts that the deal entails Paramount to use the co-venture whenever it makes sense. And these trying times definitely falls in that bracket.
Honestly, The Lovebirds is not Black Widow. At the end of the day, it is a mid-budget comedy and it makes sense to release it on Netflix. This holds especially true in these trying times when the industry is facing a huge slump. Apart from Black Widow, Paramount chose to delay A Quiet Place II until later in the year as well.
Studios are picking and choosing which films to release on streaming services, and which to delay. Which makes sense, if you look at the estimated numbers for these movies. The James Bond franchise was estimated to be worth $20 billion in 2015. On the other hand, A Quiet Place grossed $340 million worldwide, which is no easy feat. These movies, according to studios, can earn a decent return on investment if released through theatres. Thus, delaying the release of anticipated movies seems like the best course of action right now.
However, there are those who don’t have the option of using a streaming service. However, they are thus using alternative routes. Magnolia Pictures delayed the release of Slay the Dragon and changed the distribution release so that it can be rented from digital services. On the other hand, a studio in China released one of its biggest film of the year for free on its own streaming service because of the coronavirus outbreak. Moreover, movies that are currently running like Onward, Sonic the Hedgehog, Emma., The Hunt and others are also moving to VOD and digital release platforms as quarantine becomes stricter and theatres shut down. The trend will definitely disrupt parts of Hollywood and the movie-going experience as well.
Meanwhile, The Lovebirds will be available on Netflix on April 3rd.