Ever since restrictions were put in place around the world as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, streaming services and the video-on-demand market has seen a huge upswing in popularity, with Netflix reporting a big increase in both subscriber numbers and viewership habits, while more and more movies are bypassing theaters entirely and heading straight for digital.
While the movie industry will eventually bounce back from a year that looks set to cost them up to $20 billion in lost revenue, until they get the all-clear to return to business as usual, streaming exclusives and VOD releases will continue to be hugely important avenues for bringing original content to the masses.
The vast majority of the straight-to-video calendar is made up of the typical bargain basement genre films that have always been the market’s bread and butter, but there are three new titles this week that more than likely would have received a theatrical release had it not been for the current unforeseen circumstances.
For one, The King of Staten Island, comedy mogul Judd Apatow’s first directorial effort in five years, was initially set to premiere at the South By Southwest and then Tribeca festivals before both were canceled, and the Pete Davidson-starring dramedy seems poised to do pretty well given both Apatow’s standing in the genre and some solid reviews.
Meanwhile, it might never see the inside of a cinema, but The Invisible Man star Elisabeth Moss is still starting to generate some serious awards buzz for her performance as the title character in Josephine Decker’s biopic of acclaimed author Shirley Jackson, with Shirley currently holding impressive scores of 89% on Rotten Tomatoes and a rating of 77 on Metacritic.
And lastly is the widely-panned crime thriller Infamous, which updates the Bonnie and Clyde story for the social media age as the two central characters use their crime spree to generate a huge online following. Based on the early reactions though, it appears that the movie is about as uninspired and aimed towards the intended target audience as the synopsis makes it sound.
Until we get the opportunity to head back to the theater, the video-on-demand industry will continue to be the lifeblood of the industry, and with so much content available, there’s no shortage of options out there, even if not all of them are guaranteed to be worth your time.