Amid a nationwide shutdown of movie theaters as part of the effort to limit the spread of coronavirus, Warner Bros. is speeding up the video on demand release of its superhero action-comedy “Birds of Prey.”
The film, which stars Margot Robbie as DC Comics antihero Harley Quinn, will be available March 24 for both sale and rentals, a representative for Warner Bros. told TheWrap. Further details about the early VOD release, including platform and costs, are expected to be made public on Tuesday.
The decision comes as yet another coronavirus-related blow to the theatrical industry over the last week. “Birds of Prey” is still under its theatrical release window, and exhibitors have long resisted early VOD which they see as an infringement on their business.
But as Americans self-isolate and closures make any discussion of seeing films in theaters moot, studios have been getting in front of the expected ding to box office profits with early VOD releases and even the announcement of “day and date” for some of the spring’s biggest upcoming titles. Earlier Monday, Universal Pictures announced it will release its upcoming animated film “Trolls World Tour” day-and-date on video-on-demand April 10. And films already showing in theaters by the studio will be available for digital rental as early as this Friday.
Universal’s two current Blumhouse releases, “The Invisible Man” and “The Hunt,” as well as Focus Features’ “Emma” will be available on a variety of on-demand services for a 48-hour rental period at a suggested retail price of $19.99. NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said in a statement that this decision was made to give moviegoers more options for home entertainment as officials recommend that the public avoid large gatherings to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Also starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, Chris Messina, Ella Jay Basco, Ali Wong, and Ewan McGregor, “Birds of Prey” follows Harley Quinn (Robbie) after her breakup with the Joker. After being pursued by her worst enemies, she teams up with an unlikely group of heroines to kill the bad guys — and get her personal life in order.
Variety first reported the early release of “Birds of Prey.”