NEW YORK (AP) – The animated Scooby-Doo film â€œScoob!â€ will bypass theaters and premiere directly on digital platforms, Warner Bros. said Tuesday, making it the latest studio to experiment with an on-demand release during the pandemic shutdown.
â€œScoob!â€ had originally been set to open in theaters on May 15. But instead, on the same date, it will be available for a $20 digital rental and $25 digital purchase.
Warner Bros. joins Universal Pictures and the Walt Disney Co. in testing the video on demand waters while theaters remain shuttered and moviegoers are locked down at home. So far, the largest movies to make the movie have been family films. Universal earlier this month sent â€œTrolls World Tourâ€ to on-demand. Disney has said â€œArtemis Fowlâ€ will go straight to streaming on Disney Plus in June.
“While weâ€™re all eager to be able to once again show our films in theaters, weâ€™re navigating new, unprecedented times which call for creative thinking and adaptability in how we distribute our content,â€ said Ann Sarnoff, Warner Bros. chief executive, in a statement.
Universal claimed â€œTrolls World Tourâ€ set a new high mark for digital rentals, though it declined to share how much the film made. Paramount Pictures also sold one of its upcoming releases, the romantic comedy â€œLovebirds,” to Netflix.
The major studios have otherwise postponed their top releases to late summer, the fall or next year. Warner Bros. on Monday reshuffled its release schedule for films including â€œThe Batmanâ€ and a â€œSopranosâ€ prequel. The studio’s next scheduled theatrical releases are Christopher Nolanâ€™s â€œTenet” on July 17 and â€œWonder Woman 1984â€ on Aug. 14. Warner Bros. on Tuesday also moved the adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s â€œIn the Heights,” originally planned for this summer, to summer 2021.
â€œScoob,â€ which features a voice cast including Will Forte, Gina Rodriguez, Zac Efron and Amanda Seyfried, follows how Scooby and Shaggy first met.
Warner Bros. opted not to send â€œScoob!â€ straight to its streaming service, HBO Max, even though the timing nearly lines up. HBO Max launches on May 27.