Movies & TV

These 2020 Movies Are Streaming Online Early Due to Coronavirus

Films like The Way Back, Birds of Prey, and The Lovebirds will all be available digitally sooner than originally expected.

The global coronavirus pandemic has hollowed out the arts and entertainment fields: Music festivals and concert tours have been cancelled, big-name movie premiers delayed, and television show productions suspended. But streaming platforms offer entertainment that can be safely consumed at home, and with social distancing in effect and movie chains temporarily shutting down their operations, distributors are pushing some films' streaming release dates forward to meet the demands of homebound audiences.

Usually, two to three months elapse between a film's theatrical release and its On-Demand debut. But now, some films that were in theaters not too long ago are or will be soon available for in-home viewing, while other movies are skipping theatrical releases altogether and heading directly online. Here are all the films that will be available for in-home viewing earlier than expected.

1| Onward

Original Release Date: March 6

Digital Release Date: Available On Demand March 20, and streaming on Disney+ April 3


Pixar's latest, which features the voices of Tom Holland and Chris Pratt and tells the fantasy world-set story of a pair of elf brothers on a journey to bring their father back from the dead, has had its On Demand release date fast-tracked.

More: The Best Movies of 2020 (So Far)

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2| Emma

Original Release Date: February 21

Digital Release Date: March 20

This latest adaptation of Jane Austen's classic novel hit theaters only a few weeks before the COVID-19 shutdowns began, and its VOD release date was quickly moved forward.

3| The Invisible Man

Original Release Date: February 28

Digital Release Date: March 20

This critically-acclaimed sci-fi horror film is the latest take on H.G. Wells' classic story, and finds The Handmaid's Tale's Elisabeth Moss starring as a woman who suspects she's being stalked by her wealthy abusive ex-boyfriend—even though he's supposed to be dead.

4| The Hunt

Original Release Date: March 13

Digital Release Date: 
Available On Demand March 20


This satirical horror film already had its original September release delayed after its premise—a cabal of champagne-swilling liberal elites kidnap a bunch of working-class red staters and hunt them for sport—sparked controversy.

5| Bloodshot

Original Release Date: March 13

Digital Release Date: Available On Demand March 24

This Vin Diesel action vehicle is based on the titular Valiant Comics superhero, a Marine who dies in combat only to be resurrected (with superpowers, of course).

6| The Way Back

Original Release Date: March 6

Digital Release Date: Available On Demand March 24

This sports drama stars Ben Affleck as a construction worker who becomes a high school basketball coach while struggling with alcoholism. It earned critical praise, and will be available online just weeks after its theatrical debut.

7| Birds of Prey

Original Release Date: February 7

Digital Release Date: March 24

It's hard to imagine that anything was salvageable from the disaster that was Suicide Squad, but Birds of Prey finds Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn newly single and ready to fly solo—until she teams up with a bunch of other renegade ladies to save an adorable tween from a crime lord's clutches.


8| The Gentleman

Original Release Date: January 24

Digital Release Date: March 24

Director Guy Ritchie returned to his crime comedy roots with his latest film, which stars Matthew McConaughey as an American kingpin operating in the UK whose efforts to sell his marijuana empire become ensnared in a web of blackmail. Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, Colin Farrell, and Hugh Grant also star.

9| Sonic the Hedgehog

Original Release Date: February 14th

Streaming Release Date: March 30th

First Sonic's release was pushed back, thanks to a hasty redesign after the internet reacted strongly to the idea of a hedgehog with human teeth. Now, its digital release is being moved forward, making the movie available at home just six weeks after its original release.

10| The Lovebirds

Original Release Date: In theaters April 3

Streaming Release Date: On Netflix April 3

Paramount's Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani action comedy was slated to premier in theaters early next month, but now will head directly to Netflix. It's the first movie to forego a theatrical release due to the pandemic.


11| Trolls World Tour

Original Release Date: April 10th

Streaming Release Date: April 10th

This kiddie jukebox musical is the sequel to 2016's Trolls, and features the voices of Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, James Cordon, Mary J. Blige, and more. It will now be available on digital on the same day as its planned theatrical release.

This story originally appeared on Esquire.comMinor edits have been made by the editors.

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