With movie theaters across America shuttered due to social distancing measures, the release slate for major studios is still in disarray. Most movies have moved to fall releases, and the hope is that theaters will be reopened even if some distancing measures are necessary. Other smaller films, however, have taken different routes to see the light of day.
Pete Davidson‘s King of Staten Island, for example, is an unreleased film that will take a different route to moviegoer eyeballs. The film’s star, Davidson, as well as director Judd Apatow, announced on Monday that the movie would see a June release to on demand platforms. The film is loosely based off Davidson’s own life in the borough, including his comedy career and the death of his father in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. The film also stars Marisa Tomei, Bill Burr, Bel Powley, and Apatow’s daughter, Maude.
The film was scheduled for mid-June theatrical run, but with the uncertainty about when movie theaters can safely re-open, Universal decided to move its release up a week and make it on demand only. King Of Staten Island was originally slated to premiere at SXSW, which was also canceled due to the pandemic earlier in 2020.
The announcement came via a YouTube video of a chat between Apatow and Davidson, which started with the latter announcing that he “quit doing drugs” during his quarantine, presumably to focus on his SNL music career. Apatow quipped that Davidson looked like he was “born to be stuck in a basement.”
Their video is more of a skit than anything. There’s a bit of confusion about what’s actually happening to the movie, and Davidson briefly suggests selling DVDs of it in Times Square before suggesting an on demand release. Apatow calls the studio, and it’s a go: June 12. There’s a bit of extended riffing about quitting drugs, and also a fun fact about Apatow punching up a Look Who’s Talking movie. It all makes a bit more sense if you watch the video above.
The move follows something that many movies in theaters at the time of shutdowns did to make the most of its box office potential. Movies like Disney’s Onward, which likely still has advertisements plastered somewhere around your city, were moved to on demand and later given an early release on Disney+ because the box office was completely shuttered. Other films like The Lovebirds will see a Netflix release rather than one in traditional box offices as well.