Warner Bros. Puts Ben Affleck Film 'The Way Back' on VOD as Theaters Go Dark

The studio is the latest to break the theatrical window to put current films at theaters on digital platforms as cinemas shutter across the nation.

Warner Bros. is making the Ben Affleck movie The Way Back, which is currently in theaters, available on demand on digital retail platforms, the studio said Thursday, as cinemas go dark amid the global coronavirus pandemic. 

“With audiences largely unable to view films in theatrical release under current circumstances, we have decided to provide the alternative of early digital ownership of our currently released titles to people looking for great entertainment options,” Warner Bros. Pictures Group Toby Emmerich said in a statement.

The Way Back, which stars Affleck as an alcoholic coach of an underprivileged high school basketball team, was released in theaters on March 6 and has grossed $13.6 million at the domestic box office to date. The film will be available Tuesday to buy on demand for $19.99. 

Warner Bros.' decision to put the current theatrical release on digital platforms follows in the footsteps of Universal Pictures, which broke the traditional theatrical model on Monday when it said it will release the upcoming animated film Trolls World Tour in theaters (if any remain open) and digitally on April 10. Since then, Sony said it would make its Vin Diesel action film Bloodshot, currently in theaters, available on demand as well this week. 

Warners also said earlier this week that it would move up the digital releases of Birds of Prey and the Michael B. Jordan-starrer Just Mercy to Tuesday, a few weeks before the films were due to debut on digital platforms.