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'Antebellum,' 'Run' join the ranks of 2020 movies going straight to VOD

A pair of psychological thrillers starring Janelle Monáe and Sarah Paulson are skipping theaters and heading straight for your living room, along with the likes of 'Mulan,' 'Bill & Ted Face the Music,' and more.

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Movie lovers cooped up at home because of the growing coronavirus threat are getting an unexpected but welcome treat from Hollywood studios: early video-on-demand (VOD) releases of some recent blockbusters, including some films still in theaters (the few that are open, that is). The latest movies getting the early-to-on-demand treatment: Antebellum and Run, a pair of horror movies starring (respectively) Janelle Monáe and Sarah Paulson.

Following the unprecedented closure of movie theaters around the globe to help curb the spread of COVID-19, movie studios have been frantically shuffling their schedules, postponing some of their biggest releases (such as No Time to Die, A Quiet Place 2, and F9) for months or even until next year.

But Hollywood isn’t only throwing out the rule book as far as their upcoming releases go; they’re also shattering the traditional three-month U.S. theatrical window when it comes to more recent and even current movie releases.

That means instead of waiting until (most likely) May to rent the hit horror movie The Invisible Man on iTunes or Amazon Prime Video, Universal went ahead and released it in mid-March, way ahead of schedule. Meanwhile, such big summer movies as Disney’s MulanGreyhound with Tom Hanks, Judd Apatow’s The King of Staten Island skipping theatrical releases altogether and going straight to digital.

Read on for a list of big Hollywood movies that are coming early to VOD in the U.S., with more sure to follow:

Run

U.S. theatrical release date: Originally May 8

VOD release date: TBD (fall)

Price: Free for Hulu subscribers

A wheelchair-bound teenage girl starts to have grave doubts about her doting—perhaps too doting—mother in this psychological thriller. The mom is played by American Horror Story regular Sarah Paulson, so yeah, get ready for trouble. Originally slated to land in theaters on Mother’s Day (heh), Run was recently snapped up by Hulu, where it will make its debut this fall.

Antebellum

U.S. theatrical release date: Originally April 24

VOD release date: September 18

Price: $20 to rent

A “mind-bending” psychological thriller (hey, you can’t have too many) with a decidedly creepy trailer, Antebellum stars Janelle Monáe (Harriet, Hidden Figures) as an author who slides into a “horrifying reality,” with the film’s timeline jumping back and forth between the present and the antebellum South. Expect plenty of jump scares.

Mulan

U.S. theatrical release date: Originally March 27, then pushed back multiple times

VOD release date: September 4

Price: $30 for "premier access" on Disney+

Along with Christopher Nolan’s eagerly awaited Tenet, Disney’s Mulan had been slowly but surely pushed back deeper into the summer as the coronavirus epidemic dragged on in the U.S. But while Tenet is still slated to debut exclusively in theaters (albeit in international markets first), Mulan will now bow both online and theatrically on September 4. Specifically, Mulan will arrive as a $30 "Premier Access" title on Disney+, with that $30 fee granting subscribers unlimited access to the movie as long as they remain Disney+ members. In other words, Mulan on Disney+ won't be a rental, but coughing up your 30 bucks won't mean you'll own it, either.

Bill & Ted Face the Music

U.S. theatrical release date: Originally slated for August 21

VOD release date: September 1

Price: TBD but likely $20 to rent

A sequel to cult classics Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, Bill & Ted Face the Music sees our slow-on-the-uptake heroes—yes, Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves are back—totally tasked to save the world again, dude, this time by recruiting people through time to write a most excellent song. Orion says the film will land in theaters as well, though it’s unclear when and how broadly it will release.  

The Outpost

U.S. theatrical release date: Originally slated for July 4th weekend

VOD release date: July 3

Price: $7 to rent, $16 to buy (iTunes, Amazon, Vudu)

Based on a true story of a unit of U.S. soldiers pinned down by hundreds of Taliban insurgents during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Rob Lurie’s gritty war drama was set to debut at SXSW before the festival was canceled due to the growing coronavirus threat. Originally set for a theatrical bow during the July 4th weekend, The Outpost’s distributor opted for a July 3 VOD release instead.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run

U.S. theatrical release date: Originally August 7

VOD release date: Early 2021

Price: TBD, then free for CBS All Access subscribers

So, good news and bad news about the latest SpongeBob epic. Bad news first: The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, which was originally slated to open on Memorial Day weekend before being rescheduled for August 7, has been pushed back to early next year. The good news: it will head directly to VOD on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu and the like before landing on CBS All Access.

The One and Only Ivan

U.S. theatrical release date: Originally August 14

VOD release date: August 21

Price: Free for Disney+ subscribers

Katherine Applegate’s celebrated children’s book about a gorilla’s unlikely friendship with a baby elephant gets an all-star animated film adaptation, complete with the voices of Sam Rockwell, Angelina Jolie, Danny DeVito, Helen Mirren, and Bryan Cranston.

Irresistible

U.S. theatrical release date: Originally May 29

VOD release date: June 26

Price: $20 to rent

Steve Carell stars as a Democratic strategist squaring off against Republican mastermind Rose Byrne in this political satire set in a small Wisconsin town. Chris Cooper, Mackenzie Davis, Topher Grace and Natasha Lyonne co-star in Jon Stewart’s second directorial effort. In an interesting twist, Deadline reports that Irresistible may see a small theatrical release alongside its VOD debut as movie theaters in the U.S. slowly begin to re-open.

Greyhound

U.S. theatrical release date: Originally May 8, then pushed back to June 12

VOD release date: July 10

Price: Free for Apple TV+ subscribers

Tom Hanks’s mid-budget World War II drama was supposed to land in theaters June 12 (having already been pushed back from its original May 8 theatrical date), but then Apple swooped in and scooped up the movie for a reported $70 million, outbidding the other big video-streaming players. That would make Greyhound (with a screenplay penned by Hanks based on C. S. Forester’s novel) the highest-profile movie yet to jump directly to VOD. 

The King of Staten Island

U.S. theatrical date: Originally scheduled for June 19

VOD release date: June 12

Price: TBD

Saturday Night Live’s Pete Davidson takes center stage in a semi-autobiographical movie from Judd Apatow, described by IndieWire as the tale of “another week-smoking slacker who dreams big but does little—until life forces his hand.” Apatow’s sprawling seriocomedies have become something of a summer tradition, and it’s nice to see that not even COVID can cancel this one.

Never Rarely Sometimes Always

U.S. theatrical date: March 13

VOD release date: April 3

Price: $20 to rent (iTunes, Amazon, Vudu)

This critically acclaimed drama about a teenager and her cousin who head to New York City to deal with an unintended pregnancy won a Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. The film made its theatrical debut just as COVID-19 cases in the U.S. were beginning their steep climb, and it went the VOD way less than a month later.

The High Note

U.S. theatrical date: Originally scheduled for May 8

VOD release date: May 29

Price: $20 to rent (iTunes, Amazon, Vudu)

From director Nisha Ganatra (Late Night) comes a dramedy about a middle-aged superstar (Tracee Ellis Ross) who yearns for another hit album and her harried personal assistant (Dakota Johnson) who dreams of becoming a music producer. Sounds like they could help each other, no? From the looks of the trailer, co-star Ice Cube looks to have a scene-stealing supporting role.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

U.S. theatrical release date: December 20, 2019

VOD release date: March 13, 2020 (for purchase), May 4 (Disney+)

Price: $20 to buy (iTunes, Amazon, Vudu), free for Disney+ subscribers

The final (and to many, underwhelming) chapter of the Skywalker saga didn’t exactly go into hyperspace in terms of jumping its typical theatrical release window, but The Rise of Skywalker did manage to land on the big VOD platforms a few days early, and now comes word that it’ll debut on Disney+ on May 4, two months earlier than expected (and on Star Wars Day, no less).

Scoob!

U.S. theatrical date: Originally scheduled for May 15

VOD release date: May 15 (iTunes, Amazon, Vudu)

Price: $25 to rent

This all-star animated reboot of the old Scooby-Doo show stars the voices of Will Forte, Gina Rodrigues, Zac Efron, and Amanda Seyfried, who play Shaggy, Velma, Fred, and Daphne. Originally slated to arrive in theaters on May 15, Scoob! will now land on VOD as a $20 rental on the same day as its canceled theatrical debut.

Artemis Fowl

U.S. theatrical release date: Originally scheduled for May 29

VOD release date: June 12

Price: Free for Disney+ subscribers

This Kenneth Branagh-directed adventure yarn about a 12-year-old genius on a quest to find his father was supposed to land in theaters in late May. Clearly that’s not happening anymore, so instead the live-action firm will debut on Disney+ starting on June 12.

The Call of the Wild

U.S. theatrical release date: February 21, 2020

VOD release date: March 27

Price: $20 to buy (iTunes, Amazon, Vudu)

The latest remake of Jack London’s classic novel got mixed reviews, with critics dinging the “uncanny” CGI look of the film’s canine protagonist, but Harrison Ford’s characteristically gruff yet warm-hearted performance earned wide acclaim. The Call of the Wild struggled at the box office, but its early VOD release along with its sweeping outdoor setting may be just the thing we need right now.

Downhill

U.S. theatrical release date: February 14, 2020

VOD release date: March 27

Price: $15 to buy (iTunes, Amazon, Vudu)

A remake of a 2014 Swedish film, Force Majeure, that many critics considered a classic, Downhill stars Julia Louis-Dreyfuss and Will Farrell as a couple whose rocky relationship is put to the test following an accident at a ski resort. Yes, it’s comedy, albeit a pitch-black one, and the consensus seems to be that the Swedish original was way better. Still, fans of Louis-Dreyfuss and Farrell may enjoy watching these versatile actors venture into darker territory.

The Lovebirds

U.S. theatrical release date: Originally scheduled for April 3

VOD release date: No details yet

Price: Free for Netflix subscribers

The Lovebirds marks the first early-VOD-release movie on our list to make a COVID-19-related jump directly to Netflix. Starring Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae as an on-the-rocks couple who get mixed up in a murder mystery, The Lovebirds was supposed to land in theaters on April 3, but instead it’s expected to debut on Netflix, with a release date to be “announced soon.”

Bad Boys for Life

U.S. theatrical release date: January 7

VOD release date: March 31

Price: $20 to buy (iTunes, Amazon, Vudu)

The return of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence to their blockbuster Bad Boys franchise is the biggest box office hit of the year so far, and it arrived on VOD on March 31, a good month or so before it normally would have arrived.

Sonic the Hedgehog

U.S. theatrical release date: January 25

VOD release date: March 31

Price: $20 to buy (iTunes, Amazon, Vudu)

Sonic saves the world (again), this time thwarting the evil plans of Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) with assistance from The Donut Lord (James Marsden). If that doesn’t make any sense, just ask your kids, who will be thrilled to hear that Sonic the Hedgehog will be available as an early VOD release on March 31.

Onward

U.S. theatrical release date: March 6

VOD release date: March 20 at 5 p.m. PT (iTunes, Amazon, Vudu)

Price: $20 to buy

Starring the voices of Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Octavia Spencer, Onward received solid reviews from critics, which is to say it missed out on the raves that have greeted past Pixar classics. Still, this animated tale of a pair of elves who set off on a journey to resurrect their father should keep your housebound kids entertained, and following its VOD bow, it’ll head to Disney+ on April 3.

The Way Back

U.S. theatrical release date: March 6

VOD release date: March 24 (iTunes, Amazon, Vudu)

Price: $20 to buy

A drama about an alcoholic construction worker and former high school basketball star who seeks redemption by coaching the same team he used to play for, this Ben Affleck vehicle received middling reviews and box office returns, but critics singled out Affleck’s searing performance. The movie went VOD on March 24, just weeks after its initial U.S. theatrical release.

I Still Believe

U.S. theatrical release date: March 13

VOD release date: March 27

Price: No details yet

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