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Warner Bros. sends 'Scoob!' straight to digital platforms

Characters Daphne, voiced by Amanda Seyfried, Fred, voiced

Characters Daphne, voiced by Amanda Seyfried, Fred, voiced by Zac Efron and Velma, voiced by Gina Rodriguez, appear in a scene from the animated "Scoob!"  Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures via AP

The animated Scooby-Doo film “Scoob!” will bypass theaters and premiere directly on digital platforms, Warner Bros. said Tuesday, making it the latest studio to experiment with an on-demand release during the pandemic shutdown.

“Scoob!” had originally been set to open in theaters on May 15. But instead, on the same date, it will be available for a $20 digital rental and $25 digital purchase.

Warner Bros. joins Universal Pictures and The Walt Disney Co. in testing the video on demand waters while theaters remain shuttered and moviegoers are locked down at home. So far, the largest films to make the move have been family films. Universal earlier this month sent “Trolls World Tour” to on-demand. Disney has said “Artemis Fowl” will go straight to streaming on Disney Plus in June.

"While we’re all eager to be able to once again show our films in theaters, we’re navigating new, unprecedented times which call for creative thinking and adaptability in how we distribute our content,” said Ann Sarnoff, Warner Bros. chief executive, in a statement.

“Scoob,” which features a voice cast including Will Forte, Gina Rodriguez, Zac Efron and Amanda Seyfried, follows how Scooby and Shaggy first met.

Warner Bros. opted not to send “Scoob!” straight to its streaming service, HBO Max, even though the timing nearly lines up. HBO Max launches on May 27.

NEXT SUMMER 'IN THE HEIGHTS.' The movie adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes' 2008 Tony Award-winning musical "In the Heights" has been pushed back a year from this June 26 to June 18, 2021. Warner Bros. announced that the feature, directed by John M. Chu ("Crazy Rich Asians”), would fill the slot it had reserved for an "Untitled WB Event Film." Chu explained in a tweet, "After long conversations &sleepless nights of uncertainty, we have decided the best time to release #InTheHeightsMovie is next summer when people will feel the MOST comfortable celebrating in a movietheater TOGETHER. I know it's much later than we wanted but [it] didn't take 10 years to get made only to be left in half empty theaters w/out the crowd it deserves!!" Miranda added, "So we've got the summer / and we've got each other / Perhaps even longer...."

'VENOM' SEQUEL NEW DATE, TITLE. Sony Pictures has released a 20-second teaser trailer revealing the title and new release date of its sequel to 2018's "Venom," featuring the monstrous Marvel Comics antihero. Under the newly announced title "Venom: Let There Be Carnage," the sequel starring Tom Hardy as Venom and Woody Harrelson as the psychotic killer Carnage, a creature imbued with the same type of alien organism that created Venom, has been moved from this Oct. 2 to June 25, 2021. While roundly panned by critics, "Venom" earned more than $856 million worldwide.

With Frank Lovece

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