NEWS: In a COVID world, Warner Brothers’s adapt-or-die move ups the ante for the home-delivery model

Last Updated: May 16, 2020By Tags: ,

Could virtual movie parties be the wave of the coronavirus present?

Warner Bros is betting on that very concept with this Friday’s release of “SCOOB!”, the animated origin-story adventure of Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Machine crew. The film was initially destined for big-screen fun on May 15, but with theaters closed around the world, the ghost-busting crew’s latest adventure will bow on-demand Friday instead.

In lieu of kids and their parents showing up to the cinema in costume, Warner instead is inviting the public to tune in to a Twitter premiere event, which will be based around the hashtag #ScoobMovieNight, and “hosted” by the crime-solving pooch himself. Scooby will be joined at 7 p.m. Eastern with actors whose voices are part of the film, including Will Forte, Gina Rodriguez, Zac Efron and Amanda Seyfried.

With movie theaters closed for months, and prominent 2020 blockbusters like the latest James Bond adventure and “Black Widow” already pushed to later this year or even into 2021, Warner Brothers’s strategy with “SCOOB!” could be the test case for the online delivery of higher-budget tentpole films direct to the consumer in the era of coronavirus. Deadline reported last month that Warner Bros CEO Ann Sarnoff said that “creative thinking” was needed to help films like “SCOOB!” find their audiences. Sarnoff added the home-delivery model will allow families to “enjoy … while they’re home together.”

“SCOOB!” will be available for a forty eight-hour rental window for $19.99, or $24.99 for a digital download, starting Friday.


Ann Sarnoff, CEO of Warner Brothers