All the films releasing early on demand due to coronavirus – and how to watch at home

As more and more people go into self-isolation, studios have begun to release movies earlier than expected on demand - we've put together your must-watch list

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Rey (Daisy Ridley) in STAR WARS:  THE RISE OF SKYWALKER

Many studios have announced they will begin releasing their films on demand for home entertainment earlier than expected amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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The film industry is taking a big hit, with cinemas in the UK also shutting down. However, some studios have decided to release their movies on home entertainment services earlier so that people in self-isolation can enjoy them.

Speaking of the decision, Universal boss Jeff Shell said: “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.

“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.”

And now, Sky has announced a partnership with NBCUniversal that sees new movie releases available to rent through Sky Store on the same day as their global cinema premieres, kicking off with the upcoming Trolls World Tour on 6th April.

Here’s a complete list of what films are being released on VOD earlier than expected. We’ll update with dates and where you can find them as soon as they are announced:

Trolls World Tour

Trolls: World Tour
  • Cinema release date: 6th April
  • Video on-demand release date: 6th April

The sequel to 2016’s Trolls (which gave the world Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop the Feeling!) was due to hit theatres on 6th April.

Though Universal still has plans to release it in cinemas (provided any remain open), it will also be available to watch via Sky Store on the same date, marking the first time viewers will be able to rent an NBCUniversal movie as soon as it hits theatres.

You can get the original Trolls on DVD.

Scoob!

scoob
  • Cinema release date: 15th May
  • Video on-demand release date: 15th May

Scoob! was set to be the first big-screen adaptation of the beloved cartoon since 2004’s Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, but it looks like it will be skipping a cinema release altogether now.

Following in the footsteps of Trolls Worlds Tour, the animation will go straight to video on-demand on the same date it was meant to hit theatres. The film’s voice cast includes Mark Wahlberg, Zac Efron, Gina Rodriguez and Amanda Seyfried.

It is likely to be available on all the usual channels, including Amazon Prime and Google Play.

The Lovebirds

The Lovebirds
  • Cinema release date: 3rd April
  • Netflix release date: 22nd May

The Lovebirds is the first upcoming film to forgo a theatrical release and head straight to Netflix amid the coronavirus pandemic. The romantic comedy was originally scheduled to hit cinemas on 3rd April, but will now release on the streamer instead. We don’t know when the film will arrive just yet, but it could easily be on its intended silver screen release date.

The Lovebirds stars The Eternals actor Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae (Insecure) as a couple whose relationship is put to the test when they get wrongly accused of murder.

Knives Out

Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc in Kinves Out (Lionsgate)
  • Cinema release date: 29th November
  • DVD release date: 30th March

Rian Johnson’s hit whodunnit received glowing reviews from critics when it came out last year. It features a stellar cast, which includes Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis and Ana de Armas, and a twisty screenplay worthy of an Academy Award nomination. Craig’s popular detective Benoit Blanc will even star in a sequel.

Knives Out is currently available to purchase digitally on Amazon Prime Video for £11.99 in HD or £9.99 for the standard definition version. It will also be released on DVD and Blu-ray on Monday 30th March 2020.

The Invisible Man

Elisabeth Moss in The Invisible Man (Universal)
  • Cinema release date: 28th February
  • Video on-demand release date: 20th March

Part of Universal’s Monsterverse, The Invisible Man was only released in theatres in February but will be available on Sky Store and likely Amazon Prime from this Friday.

Elizabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale) plays a woman who has just escaped an abusive relationship, only to find her ex has the power to turn invisible and is using it to torment her.

The Hunt

Betty Gilpin in The Hunt (Universal)
  • Cinema release date: 11th March
  • Video on-demand release date: 20th March

Controversial movie The Hunt sees elite liberals hunt republicans for sport – it was only released in cinemas on 11th March. But, from this Friday, viewers curious about the wild premise can rent it via Sky Store.

It is likely to also be available to rent on Amazon Prime.

Emma

Emma movie

  • Cinema release date: 14th February
  • Video on-demand release date: 20th March

This joyous retelling of Jane Austen’s classic Emma is a fun watch. Luckily, you won’t have to wait long to watch it at home.

It will be available via Sky Store and likely Amazon Prime as of this Friday. If you need any more convincing, here’s our four-star review.

Birds of Prey

Margot Robbie in Birds of Prey (WB)
  • Cinema release date: 7th February
  • Video on-demand release date: 27th April

Warner Bros. has also jumped on the bandwagon, after director Cathy Yan said she would support a Birds of Prey early release. Does this mean other Warner Bros films will follow suit? It’s unclear at this stage, but we’ll keep you updated.

Birds of Prey will be available to purchase digitally via Amazon Prime and iTunes as of 27th April in the UK. It’s a fast-paced and brightly coloured romp starring Margot Robbie as the fantabulous Harley Quinn.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

John Boyega is Finn in STAR WARS: RISE OF SKYWALKER.
  • Cinema release date: 19th December 2020
  • Video on-demand release date: 13th March (only in US)

Viewers in the US are in luck as Disney released Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker digitally four days earlier than it had originally intended. For those in the UK, the 20th April release date remains.

The conclusion of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, which divided critics and fans, is not available currently on Disney+. But, considering the House of Mouse released Frozen 2 on the streamer a few months earlier than expected, anything is possible. You can sign up to Disney+ here.

Frozen 2

FROZEN 2
  • Cinema release date: 22nd November
  • Disney+ release date: Available now in the US and July in the UK

To help fans cope with self-isolation, Disney made Frozen 2 available on Disney+ two months earlier than expected. Sign up to Disney+ for £59.99 for an annual subscription or £5.99 a month.

The Frozen sequel sees Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Kristoff and Sven embark on an adventure to save their kingdom. While the film wasn’t available on Disney+ on launch day (24th March) Disney has now said it will be available in July. If you want a refresh, you can get the original Frozen on DVD.

Onward

EPIC QUEST – When teenage elf brothers Ian and Barley Lightfoot (voices of Tom Holland and Chris Pratt) get an unexpected opportunity to spend one more day with their late dad, they embark on an extraordinary quest fraught with some of the most unexpected obstacles. Disney and Pixar’s “Onward” opens in U.S. theaters on March 6, 2020. © 2020 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.
  • Cinema release date: 6th March
  • Disney+ release date: Available now in the US

The good news: Onward is currently available for digital download in the US and is coming to Disney+ on 3rd April. The bad news: it won’t be available in the UK for a while, but we’ll keep posted as soon as that changes.

The latest Disney/Pixar release arrived in cinemas just as the pandemic began to dominate headlines, and has seen poor results at the box office. The announcement was made on Twitter, delighting many fans across the Atlantic who hadn’t managed to catch it before cinemas shut down.

Vivarium

Jesse Eisenberg Vivarium
  • Cinema release date: 27th March
  • Video on-demand release date: 27th March

Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots star in this sci-fi thriller as a couple who moves to a seemingly perfect suburban neighbourhood they can’t leave, no matter how hard they try.

Due for a late March theatrical release, the film will now also be digitally released on the same day on all main home entertainment providers, including Amazon Prime Video, Sky Store, Virgin, Google Playe, iTunes/Apple TV and BFI Player. Also available on DVD here.

Sonic the Hedgehog

Tika Sumpter, James Marsden, and Sonic (Ben Schwartz) in SONIC THE HEDGEHOG
  • Cinema release date: 14th February
  • Home entertainment release date: 31st March

The iconic Sega character’s trip onto the big screen initially seemed doomed when the first trailer was met with outrage by fans, who ridiculed Sonic’s appearance. But a swift redesign did the trick and Sonic proved a massive box office hit when the film was released on Valentines Day.

Now, in light of world events, the decision has been made to keep the momentum going. Sonic the Hedgehog, starring James Marsden and Jim Carrey, will be released on home entertainment less than 50 days after it first premiered in cinemas. You can get your hands on it via the likes of Sky Store, Amazon Prime Video, iTunes/Apple TV and Google Play.

Bad Boys for Life

Bad Boys for Life
Columbia Pictures/Sony
  • Cinema release date: 17th January
  • Home entertainment release date: 31st March

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence gave fans the reunion they wanted in the long-awaited third instalment of the Bad Boys franchise. The two play old school cops, fighting the bad guys in style. It’s the highest-grossing movie of the year so far and there are rumours that a fourth film is on the way.

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Now, in light of world events, the home entertainment release has been moved forward. You can get your hands on it via the likes of Sky Store, Amazon Prime Video, iTunes/Apple TV and Google Play.