Despite Trolls Backlash, Universal Is Releasing Another Movie Straight To Homes

Dakota Johnson and Tracee Ellis Ross in The High Note

Back in March, several movies came out on home media early after their theatrical runs were cut short, while numerous upcoming movies were taken off the calendar and given new release dates. Universal Pictures went down a third route with Trolls World Tour: with the sequel slated for an April 10 release, not only did was it still shown inside some theaters that remained open, it was also offered as a VOD rental on the same day.

While this Trolls World Tour decision proved to be most beneficial for Universal, that move, as well as the studio’s interest in releasing more movies in theaters and online simultaneously, has been met with backlash by several theatrical chains. Nevertheless, Universal has decided to release another movie straight to home media: The High Note.

Starting on May 29, The High Note (which was originally supposed to hit theaters on May 8) will be available to rent for a 48-hour period on demand for $19.99. Tracee Ellis Ross, one of the movie’s stars, took to Instagram to announce the new release plan, as seen below.

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The High Note stars Tracee Ellis Ross as Grace Davis, a music superstar whose talent, and ego have, “reached unbelievable heights,” and Dakota Johnson as Maggie, Grace’s overworked personal assistant. Maggie dreams of becoming a music producer, and when Grace’s manager, Ice Cube’s Jack Robertson, presents her with an opportunity to take her career down a new path, Maggie and Grace work up a plan that could change their lives forever.

Tracee Ellis Ross, Dakota Johnson and Ice Cube are joined on The High Note by Kevin Harrison Jr., Zoë Chao, June Diane Raphael, Deniz Akdeniz, Bill Pullman, Eddie Izzard and Diplo. Late Night’s Nisha Ganatra directed the feature, and Flora Green wrote the script. Feel free to watch The High Note trailer to get an even better idea about what you’d be getting should you decide to spring for that $19.99 rental.

Although some states have initiatives in motion to reopen movie theaters, overall, it doesn’t look like the the theatrical business will be returning to the normal grind anytime soon. Taking that into account, as well as how Trolls World Tour ended up being a record-breaking movie for Universal Pictures, it’s hardly surprising that the studio has decided to release The High Note (and The King of Staten Island) straight to home media. And it’s not the only studio taking this approach, as Warner Bros decided to scrap Scoob!’s theatrical release and will make it available for both digital rental and purchase on May 15.

Still, it’ll be interesting to see if Universal’s handling of The High Note will draw more ire from theatrical chains. After NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell commented on the success of Trolls World Tour’s digital release and expressed interest in releasing more Universal movies on big screen and small screen formats at the same time, AMC Theaters announced that it would no longer screen Universal movies at its locations.

CineWorld, the parent company of Regal Cinemas, also lashed out at the studio’s decision and vowed not to show any Universal movies that don’t maintain the current theatrical window, or the agreed-upon buffer period between when a movie is shown on the big screen and when it’s available on home media. Jeff Shell clarified days later that theaters will continue to be a “central element” for Universal’s release strategy, while Comcast CFO Mike Cavanagh said that these VOD decisions would be made on a case-by-case basis.

Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for all the latest in movie news, and be sure to look through our delayed movies guide to learn what’s been pushed back on the theatrical calendar.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.