The past year has seen some pretty significant changes within the entertainment industry, as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has influenced the way many movies and television shows are able to be filmed. A lot of productions have also leaned into the dramatic new status quo of the pandemic -- including Songbird, a "pandemic thriller" starring Riverdale's KJ Apa and Descendants' Sofia Carson that filmed earlier this year. On Monday, STX announced that the film will be skipping theaters entirely in favor of debuting on Premium Video On Demand. The film will debut as a PVOD release starting Friday, December 11th, and will be available for $19.99 for a 48-hour rental. Reports have indicated that following its PVOD release, Songbird will debut on a major streaming service sometime in 2021.
“The pandemic has affected every aspect of our business, from production to release, but Songbird demonstrates that a nimble studio like STX can find effective and profitable ways to make their movies work, as we have similarly with Greenland and My Spy during these challenging times,” STXfilms Motion Picture Group chairman Adam Fogelson said in a statement on Monday. “The show must go on. Songbird is a thrilling movie that will speak to audiences in this moment as it keeps them on the edge of their seats.”
Produced by Michael Bay, the film follows Nico (Apa) and Sara (Carson), two star-crossed lovers who have never been able to meet in person due to COVID-19 lockdown protocols. In the world of the film - which is set in 2024 - the virus has now mutated into a significantly-accelerated disease called COVID-23, forcing the infected to stay in quarantine camps.
The film made headlines when it attempted to start production earlier this year -- first for trying to film while the real-life lockdowns were in place, and for being hit with a "do not work" order from SAG-AFTRA. Nevertheless, the film still boasts an ensemble cast that includes Demi Moore, Bradley Whitford, Paul Walter Hauser, Craig Robinson, Peter Stormare, and Alexandra Daddario, and was able to be made with strict safety measures in July. Production reportedly lasted 17 days, with socially-distant zoning, frequent testing, and small crews being implemented.
“We were kind of trepidatious, but still very much amped and excited to get to work,” Apa explained in a recent interview. “It was really eerie, but the way we shot was every actor’s dream.”
“Even though this is the pandemic thriller and it's suspenseful and terrifying, the heart of a story is hope,” Carson added. “It’s the hope that is represented in Sara's character and the love between Sara and Nico. In our never-ending dark night, the songbird sings a song of hope.”
What do you think of Songbird being released on PVOD? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!