Bloodshot, the superhero film starring Vin Diesel and Eiza Gonzalez, was released in theaters less than two weeks ago. But the might of Diesel as the titular Bloodshot was not enough to withstand the onslaught of the Coronavirus. With theaters shutting down and audiences staying in their houses, Tim Rothman, Chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment's Motion Picture Group, has announced the movie will be available on Digital starting March 24 for the retail price of $19.99.

"Sony Pictures is firmly committed to theatrical exhibition and we support windowing. This is a unique and exceedingly rare circumstance where theaters have been required to close nationwide for the greater good and Bloodshot is abruptly unavailable in any medium. Audiences will now have the chance to own Bloodshot right away and see it at home, where we are all spending more time. We are confident that - like other businesses hit hard by the virus - movie theaters will bounce back strongly, and we will be there to support them."
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The studio's move of putting a big-budget film up for early digital release would have been unthinkable at any other time. But with the state that cinemas are in today, the move is rapidly becoming a trend. Previously, Universal has also put their new movies Emma, The Hunt and The Invisible Man online for renting and streaming mere days after their theatrical release.

Putting Bloodshot up for digital release is the only way left for its producers to recoup some of the 45 million dollar investment they made in producing the film. Instead of letting the inevitable pirated copies of the movie appear online and be seen by everyone stuck indoors these days, the company is themselves making original copies available online.

Bloodshot is based on a Valiant comic series of the same name. The series follows the story of a US marine soldier named Ray Garrison, played by Vin Diesel, who suffers a near-death experience, and undergoes an experimental medical procedure that saves his life. The procedure also infuses an army of nanites into Garrison's body, allowing him to recover from the most devastating injury in a matter of seconds.

The rest of the story tells of Garrison's journey as he goes on a mission of vengeance against the organization that was responsible for his near-death experience, which also resulted in the death of his wife. Bloodshot was intended to set up an entire Valiant comics cinematic universe, with many planned sequel and an eventual crossover with another popular Valiant comics franchise Harbinger.

However, fate appears to be against the idea. Bloodshot earned mixed reviews from critics. The budding franchise could still have kept on track if it had made decent money at the box-office. Unfortunately, due to the Coronavirus quarantine measures, the movie only managed to make around 25 million dollars before losing steam. Any fresh money Bloodshot makes will have to come from its online release.

The film industry has suffered its biggest losses in history thanks to the Coronavirus. Theaters are shutting down left and right, and have been driven to asking the government for relief packages. Almost every film project currently under production has been halted to protect the crew from the virus. The release of every new movie at the box office has been pushed back indefinitely.

All kinds of film distribution events, from the seminal Cannes Film Festival to local affairs, are in danger of getting canceled completely after months of planning. Many experts are predicting that the almost total ban on physical gatherings will prompt the next revolution in the film industry, forcing studios and creatives to go online to find the majority of their new audiences and funding, instead of treating virtual audiences like an add-on source of revenue. This news comes from Deadline.

Neeraj Chand