Movies Released Straight to Streaming Services


Abby Blackmore, Associate Producer

The spread of COVID-19 has forced everyone to enjoy activities that would normally take place in public now from the safety of their homes. Instead of pushing back movie release dates to have a theatrical opening, some companies have chosen an alternate option to allow these films to be released online for people to enjoy.

In the past, direct-to-video movies have been reserved for smaller, not as widely known films that may not have the budget/audience for a theatrical release. Instead of having a red carpet and big opening night at a theater, these movies are available to rent and can be watched immediately after being released. Having a theatrical release is typical of films made by large production companies and those who are anticipating a big audience turn out. With movie ticket prices rising, some are willing to instead wait for a movie to be released online instead of paying anywhere from $12-$15 to see one movie per person. This could all change with the COVID-19 pandemic spreading worldwide, forcing theaters to close and reevaluate the releases of many highly anticipated films.

While many movies are moving release dates to later on in the year or going into 2021, some studios have instead turned to streaming platforms to release. The only problem with this is that streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and others only require customers to pay a subscription fee. Because of this, studios won’t be able to make money directly off of people watching the individual movies. Those who are now releasing direct-to-video have been inclined to market their movies on demand instead, allowing people to either buy or rent that singular movie for a limited amount of time.

These changes are now going to reflect upon the next award season. Reported from The New York Times, the Academy has now changed their strict rules for the 2021 Oscars. Instead of only allowing films who have a theatrical release to be up to gain recognition at the award ceremony, a temporary exception has been made. In past years, this has posed a problem for many streaming companies who make their own original content, such as Netflix and Amazon, who would have to have a small theatrical release just to get their work recognized by the academy.

So far a handful of movies have been released online. It has been found that animated family movies, such as “Trolls World Tour” and “Scoob!,” are able to be more successful with direct-to-video releases as opposed to more mature films. But other films such as “The Lovebirds,” “The High Note,” and “The King of Staten Island” (all geared to a more mature audience) have found success with their online release dates.

Below is a selection of movies recently released that are available online for the general public to watch online – Enjoy!

“The High Note” (Rotten Tomatoes – 70%)

“The King of Staten Island” – (Rotten Tomatoes – 72%)

“The Lovebirds” (Rotten Tomatoes – 66%) On Netflix

“Irresistible” (Rotten Tomatoes – )

Here is a list of all the movies that changed their release dates: