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‘Trolls World Tour’ had the biggest ever digital debut after skipping theaters. Will other movies choose to follow suit?

Universal announced on Monday that ‘Trolls World Tour’ performed ten times as well as ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,’ the last Universal film to hold the record of best opening weekend on digital platforms.

Troll princess Poppy (voiced by Anna Kendrick) bursts into song in DreamWorks Animation’s “Trolls.”
Troll princess Poppy (voiced by Anna Kendrick) bursts into song in DreamWorks Animation’s “Trolls.”
DreamWorks Animation

“Trolls World Tour” broke records over the weekend for the biggest debut of a movie released on-demand—at least, according to Universal.

As movie theaters across the country began to close due to the coronavirus pandemic, Universal decided to send the animated movie straight to a digital release on April 10, the day it had been scheduled to open in theaters, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Now, Universal says that “Trolls World Tour” had the biggest opening weekend of any digitally-released movie, according to THR.

The Universal film that had previously held the record for the largest digital debut was “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.” However, Universal now claims that “Trolls World Tour” performed 10 times as well as “Jurassic World,” according to THR.

Though Universal did not release any data or statistics to support their claim, the film was No. 1 over the weekend on on-demand platforms like Amazon, Apple and FandangoNow, Variety reported.

However, FandangoNow said in a statement that “Trolls World Tour” had “the best preorders, first day and opening weekend sales we’ve ever seen,” according to Variety.

With the majority of movie theaters still closed, Universal is not the only studio to decide to forgo a theatrical release for upcoming films. Disney announced that it would send the upcoming “Artemis Fowl” straight to Disney Plus, the Deseret News reported. And Disney’s executive chairman, Bob Iger, has hinted that “Artemis Fowl” will not be the only film to go directly to the streaming service.

Meanwhile, STX has sold the rights to the upcoming Dave Bautista film “My Spy” to Amazon, and Paramount’s comedy “The Lovebirds” will be debuting on Netflix, according to Forbes.

Movie theater owners have criticized Universal in particular for choosing to skip a traditional theatrical window. National Association of Theater Owners chief John Fithian told The Hollywood Reporter that “exhibitors will not forget this.”

Most film studios have chosen to push back release dates for films rather than send them to on-demand or streaming services, such as Disney choosing to delay the release of blockbuster films like “Mulan” and “Black Widow” that were scheduled to debut this spring, according to the Deseret News.