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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, if not 2022 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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    Film - Complete Hop to Streaming 

Netflix

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 
  • The Beatles: Get Back. note 
  • Turning Red, from Pixar. note 

Disney+ (via Premier Access):

Hulu

  • Run, from Lionsgate.
  • Happiest Season, from Sony Pictures.
  • The United States Vs Billie Holiday, from Paramount.
  • Deep Water, from Disney.
  • Fire Island, from Disney.note 

HBO Max

Paramount+ note 

Prime Video

Apple TV+

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    Film - Streaming with Simultaneous Theatrical Release 

Disney+ (via Premier Access):

Hulu

  • While not an official transfer of ownership as Disney produced it themselves, Nomadland 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).
  • Palm Springs, from Neon. note 

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+ note 

Peacock

     Film - Other Examples 

ePix

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

Theatrical Studio to Theatrical Studio

  • Joe Bell was originally acquired by Solstice Studios following its premiere at the 2020 Toronto Film Festival. However, the nascent studio was hit hard by the pandemic, with their first release Unhinged disappointing at the box office and their other releases scuttled; eventually, the studio dropped Joe Bell, which was picked up by Roadside Attractions.

Notable Aversions

  • MGM allegedly pitched No Time to Die to Apple TV+ and Netflix due to the rising costs incurred by its delays. However, the streamers balked at its $600 million pricetag.
  • Apple TV+ and Netflix allegedly approached Paramount about purchasing Top Gun: Maverick, but the studio refused to sell.
  • After previously picking up Enola Holmes from the studio, Netflix made a $250 million offer to Legendary Pictures to purchase Godzilla vs. Kong. This time, however, WarnerMedia blocked the deal, which led to backlash when Warner's plan to release the film on HBO Max was revealed. Ultimately, Warner compensated Legendary for its part in the film's production as a result.

     TV examples 

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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