Netflix Picks Up Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae's 'The Lovebirds'

The Lovebirds Still 1 - Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani star in Paramount Pictures - Publicity-H 2020
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

The comedy was set to hit theaters on April 3, but was pulled from release by Paramount due to growing coronavirus concerns.

A week after being pulled from its April 3 theatrical release amid growing concerns about the coronavirus, The Lovebirds is flying to Netflix.

The comedy, starring Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani, was set to be released via Paramount. The studio also recently pulled the release of A Quiet Place Part II and Blue Story

The Lovebirds, directed by Michael Showalter, follows a couple (Nanjiani and Rae) on the brink of a breakup. The pair subsequently become embroiled in a bizarre and hijinks-filled murder mystery. (Valence Media, the parent company of The Hollywood Reporter, also owns MRC, which produced The Lovebirds.)

As Hollywood grapples with the closure of U.S. theaters — including the indefinite closure of the nation's two biggest chains AMC and Regal — all of the majors studios have postponed their theatrical releases, and many are sending recent releases to VOD and digital services weeks early. 

Warner Bros.' Birds of Prey and Just Mercy are headed to digital platforms, along with STX's The Gentlemen and Sony's Bloodshot. The Vin Diesel-starrer, which opened March 13, will be available for digital purchase on March 24.

These moves came after NBCUniversal on Monday announced that it would be breaking the window between theatrical and home entertainment, with recent Universal releases including The Invisible Man, Emma and The Hunt being made available digitally for 48-hour rental periods as early as Friday. Universal's Trolls World Tour, which was due out April 10, will also be available digitally that day, as well as in whatever theaters remain open on that date.

The Lovebirds marks the first studio movie pulled from a theatrical release to be placed at a non-studio streaming service. But Paramount does have a standing partnership with Netflix in a multi-picture film deal that Paramount CEO Jim Gianopulos said would comprise "a small number of titles." The studio previously released the former theater-bound sci-fi horror pic The Cloverfield Paradox with Netflix.

Netflix later announced that The Lovebirds would be released on May 22.

April 20, 7:11 a.m. This story has been updated with The Lovebirds' Netflix release date.