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Movie theaters might be closed, but Universal Pictures may have changed the way the industry operates with the release of “Trolls World Tour” – the first major movie to premiere at home in light of the nationwide coronavirus quarantines, which is a move that has ultimately been a hit among parents and their kids.
Unlike several other films that have postponed their release dates over the coronavirus, the DreamWorks animated sequel stuck to its April 10 premiere with digital 48-hour video on demand rentals via Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Xfinity, Vudu, Google Play, Fandango Now and YouTube.
And instead of solely relying on its musically-inclined A-list cast members such as Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick, Universal Pictures launched a social media campaign to promote the film. Under the hashtag #TrollsWatchParty, parents have been able to share their thoughts about the new movie.
“So excited to be planning a Trolls World Tour watch party with my boys this Friday!!! Our whole weekend is going to be TROLLS themed fun... I can’t wait! #TrollsWatchParty,” wrote Makeda Gadson, who shared her delight about the announced release on Twitter two days before the premiere.
Other parents who were excited about the movie’s release got creative enough to stage elaborate movie nights for their children in an attempt to create normalcy amid shelter-in-place orders from local governments.
“We threw babygirl a #TrollsWatchParty,” a Twitter user by the name of Rae shared on Friday. “Any excuse to be extra,” she remarked in reference to her at-home movie theater setup, which was outfitted with a popcorn bucket, a Mott’s apple juice bottle, mini Snickers bars, a pack of Red Vines licorice, a Trolls doll and three movie tickets.
Another Twitter user by the name of Brenda went a step further on premiere day with a full concession stand, which was stacked with bags of popcorn, a pack of Oreo cookies, a basket of clementines, a bowl of strawberries and a colorful cash register.
Though not pictured here, Brenda’s concession stand sign noted that pizza and wine were also available for $10 and $40, respectively.
For some, eliminating the movie theater experience for a $19.99 rental feels like a gamble since the concept is not yet the norm.
Tom’s Hardware Editor-in-Chief Avram Piltch told FOX Business he was “hesitant about spending $20 to rent a movie.” However, he decided to take a chance on the film since his son's birthday was on Saturday.
“We loved it,” Piltch said. “Good choice by the studio to release it this way.”
FOX Business reached out to Universal Pictures to find out how many people have streamed “Trolls World Tour,” but the studio giant did not immediately respond to the comment request. However, Box Office Mojo by IMDbPro suggests the movie has earned over $1.8 million as of Sunday morning. It reportedly cost the studio nearly $100 million to produce, according to a Thursday report from Variety.
The first “Trolls” movie from late 2016 earned $155 million domestic and $347 million worldwide on a $130 million budget, according to Forbes.