Universal Pictures has announced that at least one about-to-open film will be made available on same day as the global theatrical release date, and that three recently released films will also be available to stream.

Excerpt from release: “Beginning with DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls World Tour (opening 4.10 in the U.S.) the company will also make movies that are currently in theatrical release available on-demand starting as early as Friday, March 20. Titles from Universal and its specialty label Focus Features, including The Hunt, The Invisible Man and Emma, will be available on a wide variety of the most popular on-demand services for a 48-hour rental period at a suggested retail price of $19.99 in the U.S. and the price equivalent in international markets.”

Other distributors are sure to follow, right?

Question #1: Once the coronavirus panic has passed and things begin to stabilize, will Universal and other distribs pull back on this streaming strategy or will they keep it in place? Question #2: How would you feel about this tectonic shift if you worked for the exhibition industry?

Roger Friedman’s Showbiz411 column: