As the onset of the covid-19 pandemic ground much of the entertainment industry to standstill in 2020, a number of studios pivoted to streaming platforms in a big way in order to bring their movies to audiences at home while movie theaters across the world were closed. Now, Universal has rolled out a new plan for how you can view its most anticipated films.
Despite some initial concerns, there was little question that the plan was always to bring films back to theaters in some capacity once it was safe. But what became clear during the early months of the pandemic was that audiences were keen on the idea of being able to watch new would-be blockbusters on the couches on the day of (or relatively close to) their intended theatrical releases. Following somewhat in Disney and Warner Bros.’ examples with their respective streaming platforms, Universal is now getting in on the accelerated home release game with Peacock.
Universal and Peacock announced that beginning in 2022, all Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (UFEG) projects from branches including Focus Features, Illumination, and DreamWorks Animation will be available on Peacock four months after their initial releases in theaters. In a public statement, the companies said the Jurassic World: Dominion, a new original film from Jordan Peele, DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, and Minions: The Rise of Gru will be some of the first titles hitting Peacock in 2022.
Though Peacock’s relatively new to the streaming game, Matt Strauss, NBCUniversal’s chair of direct-to-consumer and international markers, emphasized that the studio is focused on turning the platform into a go-to destination for movie fans. “Since launching Peacock just one year ago, we have seen incredible viewership of movies and continue to expand our catalog with a range of films for every fan and occasion,” Strauss said. “Universal Filmed Entertainment Group has been a fantastic partner and we are excited to not only bring their amazing slate of blockbuster films and beloved franchises to Peacock in the first-pay window, but also provide a steady stream of fresh, original films exclusively for Peacock customers throughout the year.”
To put this all more simply, NBC and Universal are trying to make Peacock happen, which is going to be something of a challenge given that most consumers are already paying for a handful of similar streaming subscriptions. In theory, the bigger Peacock’s catalog of content becomes, the more attractive it is to potential customers, but it’s unclear whether larger offerings will be enough to make these platforms successful. Beyond the announced movies, there will also be a slew of wholly original new films produced just for the streamer in the coming months, and it’s going to be very interesting to see if Peacock manages to take flight when this new phase of its life begins in 2022.
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