THE INVISIBLE MAN was one of several theatrical releases that received an early digital release when movie theaters decided to close their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s proving to be an early favorite on the premium full-price rental charts.
Out of the top ten on FandangoNow, premium $19.99 rentals take up eight of the slots. These films include releases that were just gaining traction in theaters before studios had them head to digital early for home consumption because of “stay at home” orders that have been implemented to fight the coronavirus spread. The number one spot goes to THE INVISIBLE MAN, which costs $19.99 to rent. In addition to FandangoNOW, the movie has been at the top of several other charts, including iTunes, Amazon Prime, and Spectrum. THE INVISIBLE MAN was enjoying a solid run in theaters before establishments were shuttered, grossing $64.9 million on a $7 million budget.
Taking up the second and third spots are ONWARD & BLOODSHOT. ONWARD is an obviously a top choice for families, especially those who were tired of watching FROZEN II on Disney+. I have to wonder if ONWARD would’ve fared even better if it wasn’t announced along with its digital release that it would be dropping on Disney+ for streaming two weeks after its rental debut. BLOODSHOT, starring Vin Diesel, opened just the weekend before theaters decided to close so Sony really had no choice but to go the on-demand route and it might’ve been a smart move doing this to get more eyes on the film since the theatrical window was forced closed.
BIRDS OF PREY places fourth on the chart which is respectable but seems to mirror its box office debut in terms of “it could be doing better.” To be fair, BIRDS OF PREY really had a full box office run before hitting digital, even if Warner Bros. bumped up the release a few weeks. Two older films, JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL & 1917, place fifth and sixth, running at a cost of just 4.99 since they weren’t released early and actually had full theatrical runs. I STILL BELIEVE, THE WAY BACK, DOLITTLE & THE HUNT round out the last three spots of the top ten, priced at $19.99.
With most of us practicing “social distancing” at home, it was a smart move by the studios to release some of these films early on the digital format. I saw some chatter online about $19.99 being too much for some of these films but if you happen to be a family of four or more, which happens to be the case with most getting these rentals, it’s a pretty good deal. In Los Angeles, at some of my local movie theaters, a movie ticket can run between $16-18 dollars and that’s just for myself so it’s not a bad investment to look into renting some of these films digitally.
The question on a lot of minds is if more studios will follow suit, especially with high-profile films that have been delayed with no new release dates set. Films like MULAN & BLACK WIDOW have been looked at as examples that could just skip a theatrical release and go straight to VOD & streaming but I suspect there’s too much money on the line for the studio to go that route with those films. TROLLS WORLD TOUR will play in whatever theaters are lucky enough to still be open and it’s also hitting VOD on the same day of its theatrical release on April 10. You can also enjoy BAD BOYS FOE LIFE & SONIC THE HEDGEHOG today via their early digital releases.
Did YOU check out any of the early digital releases? Do YOU think they’re overpriced?