We seem to be entering a “post-coronavirus delay” period with Hollywood. While the past few weeks have been wrought with news of major projects and films getting pushed back because of the ongoing global pandemic, some studios are now shifting gears to the digital home market to release films. The latest movie to get that treatment will be The Way Back, the Ben Affleck starring film about a man struggling with alcoholism and coaching high school sports.
Heading to digital platforms on March 24 for $19.99, the move is apparently not because of the film being a box-office bomb. The Way Back has definitely suffered due to the coronavirus, but its opening weekend take was $13.7 million. That’s almost half of its budget, which is pretty good considering what is currently happening.
In a statement given to press, Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Tobey Emmerich said, “With audiences largely unable to view films in theatrical release under current circumstances, we have decided to provide the alternative of early digital ownership of our currently released titles to people looking for great entertainment options. So, while we remain big fans of the theatrical experience and hope audiences are able to return to cinemas in the near future, we understand that these are challenging times and offering this option simply makes sense.”
What will be interesting to see is if these early digital releases begin to push studios to completely skip theatrical runs. I can’t imagine a film like Avengers: Endgame doing that, but smaller projects like this could really benefit from releasing straight to home.