Here’s a List of All the Movies Studios are Releasing Early Because of COVID-19 and Quarantines

The precautions regarding the novel coronavirus/COVID-19 changed just as rapidly as the virus spread. Now that people throughout the United States are self-quarantining to “flatten the curve” of the virus’ spread, the CDC urges gatherings of 50 or more people to be canceled or postponed. This is impacting the movie industry a lot, of course, because no one is able to — or wants to — go to the theaters to see a film. There’s speculation about blockbuster films like Black Widow releasing early on streaming platforms, but for others, it’s an actual tactic by their studios. 

According to Deadline, Universal Pictures is releasing a lot of their movies early onto VOD (video-on-demand) for people to watch from their homes. These movies would have only been available in theaters if not for this special circumstance due to the coronavirus. Disney+ already did this with two of their movies that were set to come to the platform later this year. While it’s a trying time for everyone, at least there are new things to watch while you’re stuck at home. 

Elsa, Anna, and the gang in 'Frozen 2,' which Disney released early to Disney+ on March 15.
Elsa, Anna, and the gang in ‘Frozen 2,’ which Disney released early to Disney+ on March 15 | Disney

Frozen 2

As stated above, Frozen 2 was released early on March 15 to Disney+. It came to theaters later in 2019 and was set to come to Disney+ in June, but the studio decided otherwise. The movie is a direct sequel to the 2013 hit Frozen and follows Anna and Elsa as a new, mysterious voice calls Elsa out of Arendelle. With Olaf, Kristoff, and Sven along for the ride, this sequel ups the ante with more amazing songs, adventure, and higher stakes. It’s a great one for the kids after online learning all day. 

The Rise of Skywalker

In addition to Frozen 2 coming out early on Disney+, the final installment of the Skywalker Saga came out early too. The Rise of Skywalker only just came out in December but the studio made the same decision. Star Wars is a perfect binge-worthy series regardless of what’s going on in the world and now fans can watch all nine Star Wars moves on Disney+. Yes, every single lightsaber fight and Force choke is now available in 4K TV. This one finishes out the saga with Rey finally finding out how she belongs in this world and her epic reunion with temperamental Kylo Ren. 


The studio that’s doing the most when it comes to releasing movies early is Universal Pictures. According to Deadline, the studio is releasing three films on Friday, March 20 to VOD for a $19.99, 48-hour rental. Focus Feature’s movie Emma is one of these films. It stars Anya Taylor-Joy as the titular character in a retelling of Jane Austen’s beloved classic. 

The Invisible Man

Starring Elizabeth Moss, The Invisible Man follows a troubled woman who suspects that her abusive ex isn’t as gone as he makes it out to be. As the trailers show, she’s being haunted by an invisible presence, which makes many people think she’s gone crazy. Has she? This is part of the three movies coming to VOD on Friday, March 20. 

The Hunt

Probably the most controversial movie on this list (other than maybe The Rise of Skywalker) is The Hunt. Part of the movies coming to VOD early, this one has actually had a long way to release. It was set to release last September, before the coronavirus crisis, but was postponed due to mass protest. Its story revolves around liberal elites hunting right-winging Americans. There were two brutal mass shootings in America before its first intended release and was deemed as inappropriate by the President himself due to the left-killing-the-right aspect of the plot. Now you can watch it from your home, if you so please. 

Trolls World Tour

Coming out a little later, Trolls World Tour is set to release on VOD Easter weekend, on April 10. This is a sequel to the popular 2016 film, Trolls, and stars Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake again. Poppy and Branch find out there are tons more troll tribes than just theirs, and they all focus on a different genre of music. They have to fight another troll who wants to destroy all genres of music, except for rock. 

Releasing movies early to watch in the comfort of your home might be the new normal for the foreseeable future. Birds of Prey director Cathy Yan actually wants to release her movie early this way, too. So only time will tell how many movies get released like this, but if it keeps you in your house, this might be the way to go.