Warner Bros. will release “Birds of Prey,” a spinoff of 2017’s “Suicide Squad,” for digital purchase on March 24, earlier than its anticipated release.
The film is expected to cost $19.99 on platforms such as Amazon and iTunes, and will be available for rental in April, the studio confirmed to Variety.
At any other time, it would be a surprising move since “Birds of Prey” is still playing in theaters and exhibitors have been steadfast to resist any attempts from studios to shorten the amount of time that films are available on the big screen. However, multiplexes in multiple states, including New York, Colorado, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington, have been ordered to close in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Even before theaters officially closed, audiences had started to avoid crowded venues amid the public health crisis, causing box office ticket sales to crater.
The news comes following Universal’s decision earlier Monday that “Trolls World Tour,” from DreamWorks Animation, would be available on home entertainment for $19.99 the same day it was expected to hit theaters. The studio’s other titles that were still playing on the silver screen — Blumhouse thrillers “The Hunt” and “The Invisible Man,” as well as “Emma,” an adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel from Focus, Universal’s specialty label — will also be accessible to purchase on demand.