Paramount’s comedy The Lovebirds, starring Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani, is skipping a theater release altogether and heading straight to Netflix. Just last week, Paramount announced that The Lovebirds would be delayed indefinitely due to the current situation surrounding the coronavirus. The film had a release date of April 3 but was unsurprisingly added to the list of delayed films, with no idea of when it might come out.
Rae is well-known for creating, producing, and starring in the HBO hit series Insecure. Nanjiani gained recognition for his role in Silicon Valley, as well as the Oscar-nominated film The Big Sick, which he wrote with his wife, Emily V. Gordon, about their personal lives. He will also star in the upcoming Marvel film The Eternals. Both Rae and Nanjiani were executive producers on The Lovebirds as well.
The announcement of the move to Netflix comes from THR. The Lovebirds, about a couple on the verge of splitting who become involved in a crazy murder mystery, was delayed indefinitely. It’s now been given a new life, thanks to Netflix picking it up. This is the first film pulled from a theatrical release because of COVID-19 to transition directly to streaming. Paramount has a partnership with the streamer and previously made a similar move when Netflix took The Cloverfield Paradox, which was initially supposed to release in theaters. This is also the studio behind A Quiet Place Part II and Blue Story, which have both been delayed.
Because of the encouraged self-isolation, many studios have decided to move up the home video releases of their movies. From The Invisible Man, which was just in theaters, to Birds of Prey, which came out in February, many films have been brought to VOD early to allow people to stream them now. This is contrasted by the studios behind other delayed films, particularly big blockbusters like Black Widow and Wonder Woman 1984, who are adamant that their films will not release on streaming before theaters.
This move from Paramount is very important news for Hollywood right now. It’s the first film to adapt to the current situation by choosing to forgo a theatrical release entirely. With the box office being the lowest it’s been in over twenty years, the coronavirus may force the system of releasing movies to change completely. While theaters try to survive through this tough time, The Lovebirds Netflix release shows us what the future of Hollywood could look like post-coronavirus.