Following the recent at-home debut of DreamWorks’ Trolls World Tour, another big animated feature will skip theaters and head straight to digital thanks to COVID-19.
Warner Bros. will release Scoob! through Premium Video On Demand (PVOD) and for “premium digital ownership” in the U.S. and Canada on May 15, the same day that the film was originally slated to hit theaters. Directed by Tony Cervone (Duck Dodgers, Scooby-Doo! And Kiss: Rock and Roll Mystery), Scoob! is the first CGI-animated feature based on Scooby-Doo! and was intended to serve as a complete reboot of the franchise following the live-action films of the 2000s.
“While we’re all eager to be able to once again show our films in theaters, we’re navigating new, unprecedented times which call for creative thinking and adaptability in how we distribute our content,” says Warner Bros. Chair and CEO Ann Sarnoff. “We know fans are eager to see Scoob! and we’re delighted we can deliver this feel-good movie for families to enjoy while they’re home together.”
Like Trolls before it, Scoob! represents a reaction to the new and unexpected challenges of doing business in a world affected by the coronavirus. While families are eager to discover new content, licensing deals tied to ancillary products based on filmed entertainment have resulted in a supply chain that is now out-of-sync with the release cycle. This presents a situation in which merchandise is already shipped and potentially on store shelves for films that may arrive as much as a year later than expected. Going forward, it is entirely possible that some licensees may incur additional cost if tie-in merchandise has to be warehoused as release dates shift.
The licensing program for Scoob! includes plush, mystery mini-figures, 6-inch action figures, and a Mystery Machine vehicle playset from Basic Fun! that are available exclusively at Walmart, and a publishing program through Random House. The official Junior Novelization was released on April 6.
Scoob! will be available as a 48-hour rental priced at $19.99, the same MSRP carried by Trolls World Tour. A big difference in this release is that it will also be available to own for just $5 more.
Trolls World Tour has been touted as a success, but without box office reporting, the industry may never know just how successful it’s been unless DreamWorks’ owner Comcast shares digital rental numbers.