Right now, it’s not a smart move to visit a theater, what with the whole deadly pandemic that’s easily spread in dark rooms with air conditioning. That’s why Orion is releasing Bill & Ted Face the Music both in cinemas (for the brave) and on-demand at the same time. On September 1st, the film will hit any willing theater, as well as pay-per-view. Party on (at home), dude.
The hybrid approach has long been resisted by theaters, who feel exclusivity is the only thing keeping their businesses afloat. Universal, which had a slate of summer movies cancelled thanks to COVID-19, took its catalog to on-demand. That included Emma, The Invisible Man and Trolls: World Tour, with the rumors suggesting that while returns were modest, the releases were more profitable than if they’d been in cinemas.
Universal’s decision to go on-demand was met with fury by exhibitors like AMC, which is one of the world’s biggest theater chains. In response to Universal’s move, the company said that it would no longer exhibit the studio’s movies that had simultaneous releases. Of course, the Comcast-owned Universal probably doesn’t need the blessing of theater chains any more, given how many platforms it has to sell you things, including Comcast cable, Peacock, Vudu and, in Europe, Sky and Now TV.