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Channel Hop / COVID-19 Pandemic Related Examples

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With the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic shuttering theaters across the globe, numerous films planned for theatrical release in 2020 (and 2021, or even later) were either sold from their original distributors to various streaming services or shifted to their in-house streaming service. Some of them did have limited domestic theatrical release and/or wide release in countries where theaters have widely reopened.

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Note that, unless otherwise specified, these channel hops are based on distribution in the United States; while some (particularly those sold to global platforms like Netflix) did have their worldwide rights sold to streamers, others (e.g. Run, Coming 2 America) had their international rights maintained by their original distributors, as numerous countries outside the U.S. were able to stage a more successful theatrical recovery earlier in the pandemic.


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Netflix

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Disney+ note 

  • Artemis Fowl.
  • Hamilton (stage recording).note 
  • The One and Only Ivan.
  • Clouds, from Warner Bros.
  • Soul, from Pixar. note 
  • Luca, from Pixar. note 

Disney+ Premier Access:

  • Mulan (2020). note 
  • Raya and the Last Dragon. note 
  • Cruella. note 
  • Black Widow (2021), from Marvel Studios. note 

Hulu

  • Run, from Lionsgate.
  • Happiest Season, from Sony Pictures.
  • Palm Springs, from Neon. note 
  • The United States Vs Billie Holiday, from Paramount.
  • While not an official transfer of ownership, Nomadland, from Searchlight Pictures, was made available on Hulu day-and-date with its wide theatrical release (following a virtual cinema premiere and an exclusive two-week IMAX run).

HBO Max

It was announced on December 3, 2020 that all Warner Bros. theatrical releases through the end of 2021, starting with Wonder Woman 1984, will stream on HBO Max for a one-month period on the same day they arrive in theaters. Here is a list of them:

Paramount+

Prime Video

Apple TV+

ePix

  • Saint Maud, joint release with original distributor A24.note 

The BBC

Owing to the sudden dearth of new programming available due to the pandemic, several series originally intended for BBC Two (generally home to more niche or highbrow programming) were moved or promoted to the more mainstream BBC One to fill the holes in the schedule. Examples of this include:

  • Dragons' Den
  • The Great British Sewing Bee
  • MasterChef: The Professionals
  • The Australian import The Secrets She Keeps was originally intended for BBC Four (a digital channel even more niche and highbrow than BBC Two, and frequently features other imported dramas), but was promoted to BBC One, a decision likely helped out by the fact that it featured Laura Carmichael in the lead role

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