Horror flick “Halloween Kills” will stream on Comcast Corp’s Peacock streaming service next month starting on the same day it debuts in movie theaters, distributor Universal Pictures said in a statement on Thursday.
The strategy is a shift from Comcast’s earlier plan to send the film exclusively to theaters beginning Oct. 15. Hollywood studios have been experimenting with release patterns as cinemas work to recover from COVID-19 closures and media companies try to boost interest in their streaming offerings.
Cinema operators including AMC Entertainment, Cineworld Plc and Cinemark Holdings Inc say the streaming option eats into their business and have urged studios to stick with theater-only debuts.
“Halloween Kills” stars Jamie Lee Curtis in a follow-up to the 2018 revival of the classic horror franchise. People who want to stream the new movie at home will need a subscription to the $5-a-month Peacock Premium or to Peacock Premium Plus, which costs $10 per month. The film will not be available on the free version of Peacock.
Universal employed the same strategy for “The Boss Baby” animated family sequel in July. That movie generated $105.8 million in global box office sales, and Comcast executives said it also helped boost subscribers to Peacock.
For theaters, the Delta variant of COVID-19 has slowed a hoped-for comeback in moviegoing. Upcoming films scheduled for this year include James Bond movie “No Time to Die,” sci-fi epic “Dune” and Marvel movie “Eternals.”
Some movies, including Tom Cruise’s “Top Gun: Maverick,” have been delayed until next year.