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The Wyld Stallyns will travel a different route this time around.
Due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, Bill & Ted Face the Music will bypass a traditional theatrical route to debut simultaneously on premium VOD and in any cinemas willing to play the threequel Sept. 1. Orion Pictures confirmed the shift early Thursday when releasing a second trailer in advance of a virtual Comic-Con panel set to take place this weekend.
In the fan-centric film, Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter reprise their roles as Ted “Theodore” Logan and Bill S. Preston Esq. to once again parade through time in their iconic phone booth. Now adults, the pair enlist the help of their daughters in a wild adventure to save the world.
Bill & Ted 3, an acquisition title for Orion, is the latest Hollywood studio film to opt for a nontraditional release and make itself available on premium VOD or streaming amid the ongoing pandemic and theater closures across the U.S. and globe. Comparable titles include Judd Apatow’s The King of Staten Island and Jon Stewart’s Irresistible.
The pic — which was originally set to open in theaters Aug. 21 — has been forced to move its opening date several times. Most recently, it was set for Aug. 28. It remains unclear whether cinemas in such major markets as Los Angeles and New York City can switch on the lights by then.
While tentpoles such as Warner Bros.’ Tenet or Disney’s Mulan can attempt to launch on a staggered basis as cinemas reopen globally, smaller films such as Bill & Ted 3 or Staten Island are in a different position.
Insiders say both Orion and the filmmakers came to the conclusion that they had to alter their plans in order to give consumers a choice they feel comfortable with, and that a one-size-fits-all approach is no longer viable.
Internationally, where theaters have begun reopening in earnest, independent distributors in a number of markets are pursuing a theatrical release for Bill & Ted 3.
Orion, a division of MGM, is releasing the movie in the U.S. via United Artists Releasing.
Historically, most mainstream theaters won’t play a movie that busts the three-month window and debuts early in the home. Drive-in theaters — a mainstay during the pandemic — and independent cinemas are an exception. Staten Island wasn’t made available to theaters, while Irresistible was.
Watch the official Bill & Ted Face the Music trailer, released Thursday, below.