As the coronavirus continues to sweep the country, citizens are forced to stay home. Large public gatherings such as restaurants, sporting events and movie theatres have been closed until the crisis has passed. Movie theatres, already hurt by the recent spread of movie streaming, may struggle to survive these indefinite closures. With profit halted for an undetermined amount of time, it seems that some theatres may be on their last legs. However, many will reopen once the disease has passed.
Many movie premieres were also unfortunately cancelled due to the pandemic, with their release pushed back until theatres can reopen. Among these delayed movies are Disney and Pixar’s Onward, Ben Affleck’s The Way Back and Blumhouse Productions’ The Invisible Man.
Cinema From Home
Over the weekend, Amazon announced that they had come up with an answer to the issue of theatre closures. Amazon Prime Video Cinema is a new feature of Amazon Prime that allows you to buy or rent movies to stream even while they’re still in theatres. The films are split into two categories: those available for purchase, and those available for rental. New movies are slowly being added to the service, ensuring that there is a healthy flow of new options. Currently the titles available to stream are all $19.99, whether it is a purchase or a rental.
Emma., directed by Autumn de Wilde, is a British comedy/drama based on the Jane Austen novel Emma. It is de Wilde’s feature film debut and stars Anya Taylor-Joy as a bored member of the aristocracy in Regency Era England.
2. The Hunt
The Hunt appears to be an interesting genre-bending film, incorporating elements of horror, thriller, and political satire. It is directed by Craig Zobel and stars Betty Gilpin and Ike Barinholtz. After being delayed from its original September 27th release date due to a mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, the film finally released in theatres on March 13th, shortly before the coronavirus outbreak.
3. The Invisible Man
The Invisible Man, a sci-fi horror film based on the novel by H.G. Wells, uses sci-fi horror to explore abusive relationships. Directed by Leigh Whannell and starring Elisabeth Moss, the project was in development for a length of time before finally seeing the light of day.
Disney and Pixar’s Onward is a computer-animated fantasy film starring two elves voiced by Tom Holland and Chris Pratt. The film sees them embark on an adventure through a magical suburban world, as they attempt to bring their father back to life for a single day.
5. Birds of Prey
Warner Bros. Pictures’ Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is based on the DC Comics team, and also heavily features Margot Robbie in the role of Harley Quinn. It sees an ensemble cast including Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Rosie Perez. Directed by Cathy Yan, the movie acts as a follow-up to 2016’s Suicide Squad, as Harley Quinn must escape a lethal vigilante with some unexpected help.
Bloodshot, starring Vin Diesel, is a superhero movie based on the Valiant Comics character from the early 90s. It is intended to be the first in a new Valiant Comics shared universe, and is directed by David S. F. Wilson in his feature debut.
7. The Way Back
The Way Back is a sports drama film starring Ben Affleck as an alcoholic construction worker who begins working as a high school basketball coach. It is directed by Gavin O’Connor, and also stars Al Madrigal and Michaela Watkins.
From Big Screen to TV
Amazon Prime Video is among several other streaming services that have begun hosting movies that were pulled early from theatres. Disney decided to release Frozen 2 on their Disney+ service on March 15th to help those stuck inside. Yesterday Disney+ was fully launched in Europe, at a reduced picture quality due to the huge increase in internet traffic throughout the continent, which should also help keep fans busy.
iTunes also released a number of recent releases to stream due to the theatre closures. iTunes’ selection includes Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Frozen 2, and is soon to add Sonic the Hedgehog.
As people do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19, by staying indoors and avoiding social interaction, streaming services become a source of comfort. Without ever leaving the house we can now watch the newest theatrical releases, as we await the day that theatres reopen again. Soon enough, we will be able to gather in theatres again to watch the latest releases together.
And, of course, you also have Hollywood Insider’s 2 hour compilation of all the BEST ACTOR & BEST ACTRESS Oscar Speeches from 1929- 2019 that you couldd watch in one sitting – just click here.
By Thomas McNulty
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