Not even a pandemic could stop the release of Trolls World Tour!
The animated sequel to the 2016 Trolls film was due for theatrical release on 10 April, but due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus and the subsequent widespread cinema closures, Universal made the decision to make the film available for digital rental at the same time instead.
And it seems that this bold move paid off for Universal, who last week claimed that the sequel had landed the biggest digital debut in history.
The studio also said that the film, which opened on-demand and in drive-in theatres across the US, took 10 times the digital revenue of Universal’s previous record holder, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, on its VOD debut – though that had a theatrical release months before it was available for home viewing.
While Universal has so far declined to reveal any official sales statistics, Deadline has estimated that the film pulled in around $40 million over the weekend. Unfortunately, these figures cannot be verified, as on-demand metrics aren’t reported on in the same manner as box office ticket sales.
However, we do know that over the opening weekend, Trolls World Tour, which stars Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake, was the top title on major video on-demand platforms, including Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV and YouTube, which gives us some indication of its popularity.
Plus, given the success of the first film, which made $346 million worldwide, it stands to reason that the sequel, which had a reported budget of $100 million, would have been fairly successful under normal circumstances. Prior to Christmas, The Entertainer’s Buying Director Stuart Grant, who had seen the movie, said that the film looked great and he predicted that the licensed toys would be good performers for the retailer in 2020.
But if the film was indeed such a success, albeit unlikely to yield the same type of haul as a traditional theatrical release, could it inspire other studios to follow suit and make their big-budget movies available on-demand early?
For now, it would seem that the majority of studios, including Disney and Sony, have opted to delay their potential blockbusters until cinemas reopen. But only time will tell as to whether the success of Trolls World Tour ¬will be sufficient in shaping the future of film releases.
Trolls World Tour is available to rent now for £16 from Prime Video, iTunes, Microsoft Store, Sky Store, Google Play and other UK streaming platforms.