Universal to release 'Invisible Man' and 'The Hunt' early for rental as cinemas close

Elizabeth Moss in The Invisible Man (Credit: Universal)
Elizabeth Moss in The Invisible Man (Credit: Universal)

Universal is set to release brand new movies The Invisible Man and The Hunt early, as cinemas around the world close in the wake of the coronavirus.

In a move likely to be expanded by other studios, the movies, plus Universal's recent remake of Jane Austen's Emma, will be released to rent for 48-hours, via Sky Store, from this Friday.

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The US price for the rental will be $19.99, (around £16 in the UK).

It will also release new animated sequel Trolls: World Tour on March 20 direct to on-demand on the same day planned for its theatrical release.

Read more: US box office hits 20 year low

NBC Universal CEO Jeff Shell said in a statement: “Universal Pictures has a broad and diverse range of movies with 2020 being no exception. Rather than delaying these films or releasing them into a challenged distribution landscape, we wanted to provide an option for people to view these titles in the home that is both accessible and affordable.

Trolls World Tour (Credit: Dreamworks)
Trolls World Tour (Credit: Dreamworks)

“We hope and believe that people will still go to the movies in theaters where available, but we understand that for people in different areas of the world that is increasingly becoming less possible.”

A press statement from the company adds that 'given the rapidly evolving and unprecedented changes to consumers’ daily lives during this difficult time, the company felt that now was the right time to provide this option in the home as well as in theaters'.

Read more: Cinemas in New York and Los Angeles close

“NBCUniversal will continue to evaluate the environment as conditions evolve and will determine the best distribution strategy in each market when the current unique situation changes,” it goes on.

Warner Bros is also planning to release DC movie Birds of Prey early for on-demand rental too, via Amazon and iTunes.

It will land on March 24, despite still being screened in cinemas.