Coming Soon: March 20th, 2020

Welcome to this installment of Back Lot 605’s Coming Soon column! Now, usually in this space, we’d be talking about all the big new movies that are coming to theaters and elsewhere. But because of the current COVID-19 situation, the vast majority of theaters across America are now shut down, and will not be re-opening for the foreseeable future – a thought that seemed unfathomable just weeks ago.

But we know you’re looking for something to watch as you wait things out at home… and with that in mind, we turn to the world of digital and streaming services, where a LOT has happened in the past several days, as streaming companies and studios react to this unique situation in unprecedented ways. And as this isolation situation continues, we’ll keep informing you every week about what new movies you can stream, as well as what older movies are now available on your favorite services. So, with that in mind, here’s what’s Coming Soon for the week of March 20th, 2020:

Digital Releases

The Invisible Man, The Hunt, and Emma. on VOD Rental

Now, just a minute: Didn’t we cover these movies in this exact column within the past several weeks, when they were opening in theaters nationwide? Yes, we did! However, on Monday afternoon, Universal made the game-changing announcement that you will able to rent these three movies on VOD services for $19.99, starting on Friday, March 20th. Typically, theatrical movies aren’t available to watch on digital services until about 75 days after they first opened in theaters, to provide theaters with a window of exclusivity… but since the theaters are largely now closed, there’s no reason for Universal to hold off on making them available digitally. (If you’re curious, you can read Back Lot 605’s full review of The Invisible Man here! Spoiler alert: We really liked it!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WO_FJdiY9dA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjW2OKMpNgU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmcJEeeT-us

Bloodshot, Birds of Prey, The Gentlemen and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on VOD for Purchase

In addition, there are a number of movies that have had, or will have, accelerated digital purchase availability. Bloodshot (another movie that only came out last week in theaters!), Birds of Prey, and The Gentlemen will be available for digital purchase on Tuesday, March 24th, with what is expected to be a typical early-release $19.99 purchase price point. Disney also moved up the digital purchase date of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker this past weekend, with rentals to be available on its original Blu-ray release date of March 31st. (Click on the titles above for Back Lot 605’s reviews of those movies, including a spoiler review episode of the Back Lot 605 podcast.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOUVVDWdXbo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGM4uYZzfu0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2B0RpUGss2c
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Qn_spdM5Zg

Frozen II on Disney+

Disney+ also made a big streaming move of its own this past week, when it accelerated the premiere date of Frozen II from its originally-planned date of June 26th to last Saturday, March 14th. The three-and-a-half month window was intended to allow Disney to make some revenue from selling the movie on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital platforms… but the need to keep kids entertained during this time (and some growing post-Mandalorian complaints that there was nothing significant to watch on Disney+) led to Disney’s choice. (And yes, we reviewed this movie, too!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwzLiQZDw2I

3/20/2020 UPDATE: Onward and The Way Back

Since this article was published on Wednesday night, even more recent theatrical movies have been announced for early digital releases. On Thursday, Warner announced that Ben Affleck’s basketball drama The Way Back will be available for digital purchase this Tuesday, March 24, alongside Warner’s previously-announced early release of Birds of Prey. And now, this Friday morning, Disney has announced that Onward is coming to digital platforms, in two ways: First, it will be available to buy digitally for $19.99, starting Friday, March 20th at 7:00 PM Central time. In addition, Disney+ will start streaming Onward in two weeks, on Friday, April 3rd.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8DKg_fsacM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzNJVSsjE-I

The Banker

Not to worry, but there are also several brand-new movies premiering directly on the major streaming services this week… starting with Apple’s very first movie, The Banker! As you can imagine, Apple, just like Netflix, is planning to make movies a significant part of its streaming strategy for its new Apple TV+ service… and indeed, The Banker was eyed to to be Apple’s first big Oscar contender. (We’ll get to that in a bit.)

Directed by George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau, Birth of the Dragon), The Banker is the real-life story of Bernard Garrett (Anthony Mackie) and Joe Morris (Samuel L. Jackson), a pair of African-American real estate and banking entrepreneurs who achieved stunning success back in the 1950s. How’d they pull it off? Simple: By hiring a white man named Matt Steiner (Nicholas Hoult) to pretend to be the head of their company, while Garrett and Morris pretended to be his janitor and his limo driver, respectively.

Now, The Banker was supposed to be released back in December, in order to qualify for the various end-of-year movie awards… until the real-life son of Mackie’s character was accused of molesting his half-sisters, threatening Apple’s squeaky-clean image and causing them to bury this movie and delay it until March. But the movie itself has received decent critical notices so far, and the talent involved (which also includes Nia Long (as Mackie’s wife), Colm Meaney, and Jessie T. Usher) means that this movie can’t be flat-out ignored. (Premieres Friday, March 20th on Apple TV+.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_-nk9-sMus

Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution

As you may recall, President Barack and Michelle Obama signed a major production deal with Netflix a while ago. So far, it’s had an excellent track record, with American Factory, a documentary they acquired at Sundance in 2019, recently winning the Best Documentary Feature at the Oscars. Their next documentary, Crip Camp (which just won an Audience Award at this year’s Sundance festival), is about Camp Jened, a summer camp for disabled teens in the early 1970s, and which was located only miles from the actual Woodstock site. (If that wasn’t enough of a hint, the hippie counselors will make it clear.) Not only did the camp (shown here in plenty of archival footage) give its campers a positive and fun environment… but said campers went on to push for landmark disability legislation in Washington. Directed by James Lebrecht and Nicole Newnham. (Premieres Wednesday, March 25th on Netflix.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRrIs22plz0

Blow the Man Down

Amazon Prime’s contribution to this week’s movie offerings is this quirky dark comedy (which played the fall festival circuit) about two Maine sisters (Sophie Lowe, Morgan Saylor) whose lives take a turn when one of them ends up killing a man in a near-sexual-assault… and then have to figure out what to do with the body. Also starring June Squibb, Annette O’Toole, Will Brittain, and Margo Martindale. Directed by Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy. (Premieres Wednesday, March 25th on Netflix.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWM1U_kd0rE

Satanic Panic

Shudder also has a movie premiering this week, and it’s a horror-comedy to boot… but is it wise to launch a movie with the word “Panic” in the title at this time? ūüôā (And if you recently happened to find this movie on the DVD shelves at Walmart, you might have noticed that their copies are simply titled Panic!) Hayley Griffith stars as Sam, a pizza-delivery girl whose latest drop-off brings her into contact with a Satan-worshipping cult (led by Rebecca Romijn). Other cast members include Ruby Modine, Arden Myrin, and Mr. Romijn himself, Jerry O’Connell. Directed by Chelsea Stardust. (Premieres Thursday, March 19th on Shudder.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJZkGkS7XeE

Older Movies New to Streaming

Shudder:

  • Some Kind of Hate (2015) (premieres Monday, March 23th)
  • Housewife (2017) (premieres Monday, March 23th)

Netflix:

  • 2012 (2009) (premiered Sunday, March 15th)
  • Aftermath (2017) (premiered Sunday, March 15th)
  • The Assignment (2016) (premiered Sunday, March 15th)
  • Search Party (2016) (premiered Monday, March 16th)
  • Silver Linings Playbook (2012) (premiered Monday, March 16th)
  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011) (premiered Monday, March 16th)
  • The Young Messiah (2016) (premiered Monday, March 16th)

Hulu:

  • Pet Sematary (2019) (premieres Thursday, March 19th)
  • A Good Old Fashioned Orgy (2011) (premieres Monday, March 23rd)

Amazon Prime:

  • Pet Sematary (2019) (premieres Thursday, March 19th)
  • I See You (2019) (premieres Sunday, March 21st)
  • A Good Old Fashioned Orgy (2011) (premieres Monday, March 23rd)

Disney+:

  • A Wrinkle in Time (2018) (premieres Wednesday, March 25th)

HBO GO:

  • Dark Phoenix (2019) (premieres Saturday, March 21st)

The Criterion Channel:

  • Wednesday, March 18th: Directed by Kathleen Collins – The Cruz Brothers and Miss Malloy (1980), Losing Ground (1982)
  • Thursday, March 19th: Three Documentaries from the Sensory Ethnography Lab – Sweetgrass (2009), Leviathan¬†(2012), Caniba (2017)
  • Friday, March 20th: Double Feature: Thoroughly Modern Malaise – The Passenger (1975),¬†Identification of a Woman (1982)
  • Saturday, March 21st: Saturday Matinee: The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988)
  • Sunday, March 22nd: German Expressionism: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), The Golem (1920), Destiny (1921), Dr. Mabuse the Gambler (1922), Nosferatu (1922), The Hands of Orlac (1924), Variet√© (1925), Metropolis (1927), M (1931), The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933)
  • Monday, March 23rd: Directed by Terry Zwigoff: Louie Bluie (1985), Crumb (1994), Ghost World (2001), Art School Confidential (2006)
  • Tuesday, March 24th: Short + Feature: Send in the Clowns – 24 Hours in the Life of a Clown (1946); La Strada (1954)

The Shameless Plugs

Check out the Back Lot 605 Podcast Network on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, and YouTube. Follow us on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Check out our movie friends Fat Dude Digs Flicks and Somewhat Random Movie Collection for some awesome reviews and movie insights! Check out every episode of the Back Lot 605 Podcast and the Killer Countdown!

About the Author
Derrick Veurink has been consuming anything and everything movie-related since he was 5, and is an encyclopedic fount of random movie information. He is an avid physical media supporter, and sees nearly every major theatrical release. (Yes, even "Playmobil: The Movie".)
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