How Some Movies Are Coming Out Post-COVID-19

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Emily Backlund, Arts & Entertainment

After everything shut down back in March, many movies have had to set back their initial release dates and productions have had to stop or take extra precautions when filming. Some of the movies that had already been filmed and were planning to release in the spring or summer –  but were unable to due to the majority of movie theatres being closed – were forced to change up release plans. To compensate with this, some movies have been released on streaming services such as Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Disney Plus, and more. 

One of the first companies to do this was Disney Plus. The streaming service came out in  November 2019, so that means many people had their own new account by the time the pandemic started. The first blockbuster movie to be released on the streaming service was the live action Mulan; the film premiered on March 9th and was planning to be released later that month in theatres around the United States, but had to cancel its plan due to COVID-19. The movie first came out on Disney Plus on September 4th and it cost $30 to watch on top of the $6.99 monthly subscription. Today, however, the movie is free to watch with just the monthly subscription. 

Many people at the time felt that it was not worth paying the price of the movie when they would be watching it in their own home and were already paying the monthly fees. The movie also didn’t have a great chance of doing as well as it would have if it were in theatres because not everyone has the app and not everyone is able to watch it. The movie itself got mixed reviews – with a 73% on Rotten Tomatoes – and only made $70 million back when the film itself cost around $200 million to make. 

Another big movie which was released on February 21, 2020 was Emma. When everything shut down, the movie switched to Amazon Prime and the new streaming service HBO Max. This way of streaming seems to have done better than Mulan on Disney Plus; more people were able to watch it with it streaming on more platforms and the price of it being lower and accessible. The movie had a $10 million budget and made back around $26 million, with $10 million of that being from the United States and Canada. Of course, the film did better since it was in theatres for almost a month, but how it transitioned to streaming services after the shutdown helped it a lot since most movies wait months after being released in theatres to go on DVD or become available at home streaming. 

Most movies that were planning to come out in 2020 or have completed filming pushed back their released date to come out in 2021. Some of these movies include: Dune; A Quiet Place: Part II, whose initial release date was March 8, 2020 but has been moved to April 23, 2021; Cruella, which pushed back its release date to May 28, 2021; and The Batman, which moved its release date all the way back to 2022 after moving it from June 25, 2021, to October 1, 2021, and now to March 4, 2022. Most movies chose to move their release date even after movie theatres reopen to have a better chance of doing well and making more money. That being said, more movies lately have decided to be released on home streaming entirely because they believe they have a better chance of doing well, since most people are unlikely to go to movie theatres even after reopening.