April 28, 2020
Universal Pictures reportedly has generated almost $100 million in revenue from the animated movie Trolls World Tour since its April 10 release on premium VOD for $19.99.
The Wall Street Journal, citing Universal’s corporate communications, said the studio generated another $60 million from the combined transactional VOD releases of The Invisible Man, The Hunt, Emma and Never Rarely Sometimes Always.
Universal Pictures sources later confirmed both figures to Media Play News — and noted that they are domestic (United States and Canada) only. The film will be released theatrically in most international markets in the fall.
“The results from Trolls World Tour have exceeded our expectations and demonstrated the viability of PVOD,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell told The Wall Street Journal. “As soon as theaters reopen, we expect to release movies on both formats.”
Universal April 27 announced it is releasing previous Judd Apatow theatrical title The King of Staten Island, about and starring “Saturday Night Live” cast member Peter Davidson, on June 12 on PVOD.
Trolls World Tour, the sequel to Trolls, was originally intended to premiere in movie theaters April 10.
But with movie theaters shuttered in the wake of the March 11 declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) of a global coronavirus pandemic, the film instead was released directly to premium VOD at a $19.99 rental price for 48 hours.
The film was also released to about 25 drive-in movie theaters on that same day, a Universal Pictures spokesperson told Media Play News — where it reportedly generated another $100,000 in total revenue.
The sequel, featuring the voices of Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Rachel Bloom, James Cordon and Kelly Clarkson, among others, was widely seen as a test case for PVOD.
Richard Greenfield, co-founder/analyst with Lightshed Partners, discussed the move to digital delivery on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” April 9, the day before the film’s release.
“It’s a pretty monumental day in the film industry where a mainstream consumer movie in Trolls is going to skip the theaters,” he said. “I give [NBCUniversal CEO] Jeff Shell and the team at Universal Pictures a lot of credit for being willing to try this. It’s a unique circumstance. A lot of the marketing dollars had already been set in motion for Trolls, but you got kids stuck at home, families stuck at home — $20 for Trolls, direct-to-consumer … is really interesting. I’m certainly rooting for them to do well because I think this is an important model for the industry.”