How To: Watch These Films Early on Your Phone While Movie Theaters Are Closed for Coronavirus

Watch These Films Early on Your Phone While Movie Theaters Are Closed for Coronavirus

Thanks to the COVID-19 virus, the whole country is staying home. That means no dining out, no going to bars, no live music, and, sadly, no movie theaters. While you might think that means you'll have to wait to see movies like "The Invisible Man," "Emma," and "The Hunt," think again. Because of the pandemic, you'll be able to watch these movies on your phone earlier than ever.

Universal Pictures has released those in-theater movies early on rental platforms. The unprecedented move makes sense, as fewer people are either able or willing to trek to their movie theater to check out Universal's latest flicks. The movies we discussed were the first batch to come out and have already hit VOD platforms. DreamWorks Animation's "Trolls World Tour" will also be made available, starting April 10.

Warner Bros. was quick to follow Univeral for movies that were already slated to sell on digital media services. So movies like "Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn" and STX's "The Gentlemen" are now available to purchase earlier than scheduled, which means digital rentals may soon follow after the buy-only period ends. It then released Ben Affleck's "The Way Back," which hit theaters back on March 6, for digital purchase.

Sony Pictures has released its "Bloodshot" (via Columbia Pictures) for purchase early, with "Bad Boys for Life" coming on March 31. Disney pushed out "Onward" to buy on digital movie services (and it will be available on Disney+ on April 3). Lionsgate said that "I Still Believe," which was released in theaters on March 13, will be available to buy on March 27. Paramount Pictures announced that its "Sonic the Hedgehog" movie will out for digital purchase on March 31 with rentals starting May 19.

We'll keep this article updated with all the movies that are slated for early rental and purchase, as we're sure more and more studios will follow Universal's lead during the new coronavirus outbreak.

Digital Rentals

These films are or will be available to rent early for $19.99, with purchases and normal-price rentals coming later. All prices listed are for HD or better quality.

Digital Purchases

These films are or will be available to purchase, with rentals coming later. All prices listed are for HD or better quality.

Subscription Services

While most studios have released or will release their movies for rent or purchase, others are trying something different: releasing on subscription service platforms.

  • Frozen 2 on Disney+ March 15 (originally expected June 26)
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire on Hulu March 27 (released Feb. 14 in theaters)
  • Onward on Disney+ April 3 (released March 6 in theaters)
  • The Lovebirds on Netflix TBD (originally for theater on April 3)

Movies That Have Been Delayed

There were some movies slated for theatrical release that are not getting pushed out early online. These are the ones that will still have theatrical releases in the future.

  • Peter Rabbit II (Aug. 7)
  • No Time to Die (Nov. 25)
  • Antlers (TBD)
  • Black Widow (TBD)
  • Mulan (TBD)
  • The New Mutants (TBD)
  • A Quiet Place Part II (TBD)

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Cover photo by Jake Peterson/Gadget Hacks

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