Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake star in “Trolls World Tour.”

Universal | Dreamworks

With the spreading coronavirus pandemic forcing movie theaters to close, Comcast is breaking with tradition and making a number of movies available to watch at home. 

Universal’s “Trolls World Tour” will be the first movie it will simultaneously debut online and in theaters on April 10. Other films that are currently in theaters, like “The Invisible Man,” “The Hunt” and “Emma” will be available for a 48-hour rental as soon as Friday with the suggested price of $19.99.

Typically, movie studios wait 90 days for a film to run in theaters before putting it out to home viewing, but the company will be releasing new films online while they are still in cinemas. 

Notably, Universal has decided to implement this new policy for its low-to-mid-tier budgeted films.

The budget for “F9” is likely on par of that of its predecessor “The Fate of the Furious,” which cost $250 million to make, excluding marketing. The budget for “Trolls World Tour” is half that figure, “Invisible Man” was around $7 million and “The Hunt” was around $14 million.

“NBCUniversal will continue to evaluate the environment as conditions evolve and will determine the best distribution strategy in each market when the current unique situation changes,” Jeff Shell, CEO of NBCUniversal, said in a statement Monday.

“I think it’s just good business for companies to make the appropriate decisions that best serve their audience and the content that they are providing to consumers,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore, said. “These are times that require unusual steps and innovative thinking. Likely we will be seeing more industries coming up with unexpected solutions to cope with the current global situation.”

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of CNBC and NBCUniversal.

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