According to a senior industry analyst, Keanu Reeves‘ The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run and Bill & Ted Face the Music, currently slated for a theatrical release in August, will go straight to digital platforms. With most theaters worldwide shut down amid the coronavirus epidemic, the third SpongeBob Movie and the much-awaited third entry in the Bill & Ted franchise follows the animated Trolls World Tour and the now-released Scoob! Like the recent high-end titles that skip theaters for release on premium video on demand, each is priced at $ 19.99 for a 48-hour rental.
“We don’t know what the world will look like in June and July, but if studios are planning for release in theaters, they should start advertising them now.” Geoff Bock, the senior analyst at entertainment research firm Exhibitor Relations, told CNN Business.
After a series of postponed dates, Paramount Pictures scheduled Sponge on the Run for May 22 before pushing the Nickelodeon sequel to its current date, August 7, while Orion Pictures, owned by MGM, set Face the Music to August 21.
“With the uncertainty ahead, the studios are running alternative scenarios, crunching the numbers and ultimately measuring the likelihood that more films will go on-demand,” Bock said. “The epidemic simplifies which films are going further and further into that pipeline.”
According to an April 28 report by CNBC, the Trolls World Tour digital rental has reached $100 million in its first three weeks, 80% of which goes directly to Universal. Despite this rock-and-roll show, The Hollywood Reporter cited industry veterans who reported on the May 6 that Trolls sequel would “never make a dime.”
Other summer releases, including live-action Mulan, which will be released in July, have little chance of fully pursuing the digital release. In April, Disney pulled the Artemis Fowl from its May 29 theatrical release, and announced plans to make the movie available to Disney + subscribers starting June 12.