In light of movie theater closures, Paramount Pictures has made the decision to scrap its The Lovebirds theatrical premiere entirely and instead to make the movie available to stream on Netflix. This is a deviation from the ongoing trend this month, which is to postpone theatrical releases indefinitely, the goal being to make them happen once the social distancing quarantines are over.
Though movie theaters remain open in many cities, their hours may be limited and they largely report a major decrease in customers. The reason is obvious: many people are concerned about contracting or spreading the novel coronavirus and are following orders to stay home, or, at minimum, they’re avoiding crowded places like auditoriums.
Recent movie premieres have been impacted by this change, prompting some early movie releases on digital video, including Sonic the Hedgehog. In other cases, movie studios have made the decision to postpone theatrical premieres — A Quiet Place 2 was originally scheduled to hit theaters earlier this month, for example, but Paramount made the decision to postpone it.
The company is taking a different route with The Lovebirds starring Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani, according to Deadline, which reports that the title’s April 3 theatrical release is being replaced with a Netflix release. It’s unclear when the movie will be released on the streaming platform, though the movie studio is expected to provide more details on that soon.
The decision comes amid the anticipated release of a huge number of recent movie premieres on digital video. Just Mercy and Birds of Prey are both in the pipeline to release on digital platforms in coming days, as is Bloodshot and The Gentlemen. The move aims to target viewers who may want to see the new movies, but who are staying home at this time.