Keeping the Release Schedule Updated During This Global Pandemic
by Alex Billington
April 10, 2020
"We just need to make sure that nobody knows until everybody knows." First things first, please stay safe. Stay home. Keep your distance from others. Support the health care workers and service workers and food workers who are all still putting themselves in harms way to keep the world turning. It's tough times… For everyone. Pretty much every cinema around the world has shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Hollywood has responded by shifting many upcoming releases to digital / VOD offerings. Our focus here at FirstShowing has been, and will always be, the theatrical experience. Many of us miss going to the cinema. And with time, hopefully things will return to normal and the cinemas will re-open. Until then, we're doing our best to keep the website going including regularly updating the release schedule. It's our way to survive.
In all honesty, it is a challenge to keep the release schedule fully updated with exact details. Movie studios and distributors aren't as forthcoming with announcements any more, and even if they do confirm a change, that information is only reported a few places (we follow @ERCboxoffice for theatrical release updates). In addition, it's not always easy to tell whether movies will now be released straight to VOD (or other "digital" services) or switch to a streaming platform (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO, etc) or get delayed entirely. Some lingering releases on the 2020 schedule are still there because the distributor hasn't announced anything yet. And until they provide us solid updates, we prefer to leave the film listed as is. But we're still keeping it updated as best we can – including removing many films and adding them once they're reset for a later date.
Additional note: The Google Calendar version of the 2020 release schedule is also available here. However, with all of the delays, there's not many listings through July. This will also be updated when releases return.
In the meantime, you'll also notice that releases now have VOD listings next to them. This is to indicate (to the best of our current knowledge) that a film can be watched at home on that same release date (there are a handful of options for VOD and digital services available at home). There's still plenty of new films to watch still being released each week. We are also adding a few other worthwhile direct-to-streaming films that are being released over the next few months (e.g. Tigertail, The Half of It, Beastie Boys Story, Extraction, The Vast of Night). This is to help remind everyone that there are new films coming up, and that there is still an active release schedule that is being updated regularly. With lockdowns worldwide, times are changing, and that means digital releases are becoming the new norm and many of these direct-to-VOD films are as worthy as anything released in the cinema. And you might as well watch a few of them while you're at home anyway.
The best thing we can all do to help the cinemas reopen sooner than later is to follow the orders of health officials – stay home and stay safe. In the meantime, we also recommend watching any of the short films we're posting every day. And to use this time to catch up with any classics (or new releases) you haven't seen yet. We'll continue to update the site and release schedule as often as we can. Our ad revenue has dropped drastically, along with daily traffic, but it is still our passion to keep you informed about upcoming releases.