Universal to Make Theatrical Movie Releases Available as $20 Digital Rentals on Same Day

Universal Pictures is set to make new movies on global theatrical release concurrently available for rental via iTunes, Amazon, and other digital platforms, NBCUniversal has announced (via Deadline).


New releases including The Invisible Man, The Hunt, and Emma will be available to watch online as soon as this Friday, March 20, with each movie offered as a 48-hour on-demand rental for the suggested price of $19.99 in the U.S., and equivalent prices in international markets.

In addition, DreamWorks Animation's Trolls World Tour, which is scheduled for cinematic release on April 10 in the U.S., is set to become available domestically in theaters and on demand on the same day.

The announcement followed a historically poor weekend at the box office, as measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic saw theaters close and consumers prepare for a collective shut-in at home.

"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," said Jeff Shell, CEO of NBCUniversal, in a statement. "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."

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the move doesn't apply to the studio's entire 2020 calendar, and decisions regarding other titles and the duration of the policy have yet to be made.

Several films, including the next James Bond installment No Time to Die and the ninth Fast & Furious movie, have already been delayed because of the virus. Apple has also suspended all active filming on Apple TV+ projects from outside studios, temporarily pausing work on "The Morning Show," "Foundation," "See," "Lisey's Story," "Servant," and "For All Mankind."

Tag: iTunes

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
8 months ago


This is nice, but $20 when it would have cost $12 to see it on the big screen? Universal needs customers during this theatre shutdown, but they are charging a premium to rent movies? Normally it would cost $20 to purchase the movie (which isn’t normally released this soon on iTunes). Not following that.

The reasonable assumption is that most of these will be viewed by at least a couple, if not a family or group of friends.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
8 months ago
...and on various file sharing sites shortly after.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
8 months ago
Personally, I welcome this, as movie theaters obviously will probably never be the same moving forward, and this gives a luxury for those who want to pay a premium to view the film in their privacy of their own home given the circumstances. It saves me (And plenty of others) the time and distraction of having to deal with those who are not courteous of others when viewing movies in theaters.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
8 months ago
This is nice, but $20 when it would have cost $12 to see it on the big screen? Universal needs customers during this theatre shutdown, but they are charging a premium to rent movies? Normally it would cost $20 to purchase the movie (which isn’t normally released this soon on iTunes). Not following that.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
8 months ago
21st century movie releases.... Its like the future is finally here.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
8 months ago
I’ve been wondering why this wasn’t a thing for years. It will surely combat piracy a lot.

I think they’re about to open up a whole new business model. Movie theatres are likely to go the way of blockbuster.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Samsung Mocks Apple for Ditching Power Adapters With iPhone 12 Lineup

Thursday October 15, 2020 11:51 am PDT by
Samsung on its social channels is mocking Apple for removing the power adapter from the iPhone 12 lineup and other iPhone models, pointing out the fact that the Samsung Galaxy smartphones continue to ship with a power adapter. "Included with your Galaxy," reads a Samsung Facebook post that features a picture of a power adapter. Apple notably is no longer providing power adapters or...

iPhone 12 Pro Pre-Orders Already Selling Out With Delivery Times Pushing Into November

Friday October 16, 2020 6:35 am PDT by
Apple today opened pre-orders for the 6.1-inch models of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro through its website and the Apple Store app, and estimated delivery times are already slipping into November for select configurations in the United States. Customers ordering a SIM-free/Pacific Blue/128GB version of the iPhone 12 Pro, for example, are already facing an estimated delivery window of...

HomePod Mini Cable is Non-Detachable, Ends With USB-C Connector for Use With Included 20W Power Adapter

Friday October 16, 2020 12:45 pm PDT by
While not detailed in the tech specs, MacRumors can confirm that Apple's new HomePod mini features a non-detachable power cable that ends with a USB-C connector for use with the 20W power adapter included in the box. With the switch to USB-C, the HomePod mini could potentially be powered by a wider range of devices and peripherals, ranging from MacBooks to USB-C battery packs with enough...

Apple's New MagSafe Charger and Cases Begin Arriving to Customers

Saturday October 17, 2020 10:10 am PDT by
Apple's new MagSafe charger and cases have begun arriving to some customers earlier than expected, and images of the accessories have started to surface on Twitter. The photos provide a first look at the products in real-world use. As of writing, some MagSafe cases are also available for pickup at select Apple Stores in countries like the United States, Canada, and Germany. Filip...

New Google App Feature Lets You Hum a Song to Search for It

Saturday October 17, 2020 4:05 am PDT by
Google has added a new feature to its Search app that allows you to hum a song that's stuck in your head, and then use the company's machine learning algorithm to try and identify it. In the Google app or using the Google Search widget, tap the mic icon and say "what's this song?" or click the "Search a song" button. Then start humming the tune for 10-15 seconds. When you're done, the...

Brazilian Certifications Suggest iPhone 12 Mini Features 2,227mAh Battery and iPhone 12 Has 2,815mAh Battery

Friday October 16, 2020 1:08 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone mini has the shortest battery life out of all the iPhones in the iPhone 12 lineup due to its small size, but Apple has not provided public information about the battery's capacity. A regulatory filing from Brazil, however, suggests the iPhone 12 mini has a battery capacity of 2,227mAh. The same regulatory information says the iPhone 12 features a 2,815mAh battery, which is...

Apple Offering Free AirPods With iPhone 11 Purchase in India as Part of Diwali Celebration

Friday October 16, 2020 12:35 pm PDT by
Apple today launched a new Diwali promotion in India that will see the company providing customers with a set of AirPods with the purchase of any iPhone 11 model. The new iPhone 12 models are not part of the promotion. Apple is offering the standard AirPods With Charging Case free with purchase, but customers can choose to upgrade to the AirPods with Wireless Charging Case or the AirPods Pro....

Apple Event to Unveil First Apple Silicon Macs Could Happen on November 17

Friday October 16, 2020 2:24 am PDT by
Apple will hold another digital event on November 17 to announce its first Apple Silicon powered Macs, according to frequent leaker Jon Prosser. Apple has already said that this year it intends to introduce the first Mac powered by an Apple Silicon chip instead of an Intel processor. One thing it hasn't revealed is the date it will be announced. According to Prosser's source, that date is No...

Apple Online Store Down Ahead of iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Pre-Orders

Thursday October 15, 2020 11:15 pm PDT by
Apple's online store is down ahead of iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro pre-orders, which are set to begin at 5:00 a.m. Pacific Time in the United States. "You're... early," reads the Apple Store message when attempting to visit the U.S. website. "Pre-order begins at 5:00 a.m. PDT. Enjoy the extra sleep." Apple used to do new device pre-orders at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time, but since last year, has...

When You Can Pre-Order the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro in Every Time Zone

Thursday October 15, 2020 10:55 am PDT by
Pre-orders for the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro are set to kick off on Friday, October 16 at 5:00 a.m. Pacific Time, which is a new launch time that Apple adopted as of last year. Apple is planning to make the new devices available in multiple countries around the world simultaneously, so we've made a guide to let MacRumors readers know when pre-orders will in their country. Pre-orders...