Judd Apatow's 'King of Staten Island' to Skip Cinemas, Going Straight to On-Demand

Judd Apatow - Getty - H 2020
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The Universal comedy stars 'Saturday Night Live' breakout Pete Davidson in his first feature lead role.

Judd Apatow's upcoming movie The King of Staten Island will skip an early summer theatrical release and debut directly on premium VOD amid the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the filmmaker said Monday.

The Universal comedy was slated to open in cinemas June 19. It will instead be made available to rent beginning June 12 on a host of digital platforms. The price for a 48-hour rental will be $19.99.

The King of Staten Island stars Saturday Night Live breakout Pete Davidson in his first lead feature role alongside Marisa Tomei and Steve Buscemi. The semi-autobiographical coming-of-age comedy incorporates elements from Davidson's own life.

The vast majority theaters in the U.S. have been closed since March, while there also is a blackout on moviegoing in much of the rest of the world. Hollywood studios have been forced to reshuffle their calendars and, in some cases, turn to digital for their releases, particularly for smaller titles such as King of Staten Island, which reportedly cost less than $20 million to produce.

Apatow and Davidson revealed the news during a humorous video chat posted to social media (see below) in which they bandied about ideas of how to release the movie, including making DVDs and selling it in Times Square, before deciding to ask Universal to put it on-demand. “I think people would like to see a movie right now, a good movie. I’m running out of stuff to watch myself,” said Apatow.

The news was announced hours after HBO Max picked up worldwide rights to release Sony's offbeat comedy An American Pickle, starring Seth Rogen.

For the most part, studios are delaying theatrical releases for their event films versus relying on premium VOD. Two exceptions are the family animated films Trolls World Tour, from Universal and DreamWorks Animation, and Warner Bros.' Scoob!

April 27, 3:16 p.m. An earlier version misstated when Universal would release the film digitally. THR regrets the error.