Warner Bros. will release the new Scooby Doo film “Scoob!” directly on demand and for streaming, pulling it from theaters because of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • “Scoob!” becomes the latest major film to shift away from a traditional theater release because of the COVID-19 outbreak, opting to be available for rent or buy weeks ahead of schedule.
  • According to Variety, the film will hit video on-demand services beginning May 15, which was its original release date.
  • The film will cost $19.99 for rent. You can buy the full film for $24.99.
  • “Scoob!” will not be available on HBO Max, though, despite Warner Bros. owning the streaming service, according to The Associated Press.

What they’re saying:

Ann Sarnoff, Warner Bros. chief executive, said in a statement: “While we’re all eager to be able to once again show our films in theaters, we’re navigating new, unprecedented times which call for creative thinking and adaptability in how we distribute our content.”

Some context:

  • “Scoob!” joins a number of other early 2020 films to be released early on streaming or video on demand.
  • “Trolls World Tour” became the first film to have its original release moved to video on-demand. According to Universal, the film saw record numbers for a digital release.
  • Disney similarly announced it would release its “Artemis Fowl” movie directly to Disney Plus in June, pulling it from theaters.

Bigger picture:

  • Movie theaters remain closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It’s unclear when they might reopen. President Donald Trump mentioned movie theaters as potential venues to open during the first phase of the coronavirus economy reopening. But no clear plan to reopen them was included in those measures.
  • Movie theaters insist they will be ready to handle people’s return to theaters. Megaplex Theatres spokesman Jeff Whipple told me that movie theaters will continue to offer unique experiences that streaming services don’t.
  • “There is something wonderful when we get together to share these kinds of experiences,” Whipple said, “what that looks like going forward, and how guests interact is always changing,”