“The Boss Baby: Family Business,” arriving ahead of schedule (it was initially slated for Sept. 17), is now set to premiere on July 2.
The animated family film is the first theatrical title from Universal Pictures to open simultaneously on Peacock, the budding streaming service owned by the studio’s parent company, NBCUniversal. Peacock launched in 2020, with its premium versions costing $4.99 or $9.99 per month. “The Boss Baby” sequel will be available to Peacock Premium subscribers at no extra fee.
The film, produced by DreamWorks Animation, will begin to roll out internationally in select markets on July 2. Peacock hasn’t launched yet overseas.
The decision to put “The Boss Baby 2” both on the big screen and a streaming platform underscores the shift in power between studios and theater owners as the box office recovers from the pandemic. Disney and Warner Bros. have recently attempted similar moves in an effort to grow subscribers for Disney Plus and HBO Max, respectively. Nearly every Hollywood studio had at least one movie skip theaters entirely during the pandemic.
Theater operators, of course, have the option of whether or not to play the movie. However, they aren’t in much of a position to refuse new movies. Though the box office has begun to shown signs of life, film exhibitors are still reeling from prolonged theater closures and the onslaught of release date delays that followed.
In what feels like a lifetime ago, theater owners threatened to boycott Universal’s movies last year after the studio decided to put “Trolls World Tour” in cinemas and on demand on the same day. At that time, all indoor theaters were shuttered to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Yet shortly after the “Trolls World Tour” debacle, the studio made nice with theaters and forged a historic agreement to put new movies on premium video-on-demand platforms after 17 days. So far, that method has proved to be lucrative for Universal. It later put the DreamWorks pic “The Croods: A New Age” on demand shortly after it debuted in theaters, where the kids’ film became a pandemic-era hit with $168 million in worldwide ticket sales.
The hybrid release model for “The Boss Baby 2” isn’t expected to be Universal’s new way of doing business, but rather a boost for Peacock ahead of the Olympics in late July. Since April of 2020, NBCUniversal says more than 42 million people have signed up for Peacock.
“Families are at the heart of our decision today to make DreamWorks Animation’s ‘The Boss Baby: Family Business’ available to everyone this July Fourth weekend, and to give those families the freedom to choose whether to see this joyful, hilarious and heartfelt film from a big-screen theater seat or from the comfort of their own homes on Peacock,” said Jim Orr, Universal’s president of domestic distribution.
“The Boss Baby,” released in 2017, was commercially successful, generating more than $500 million at the global box office. Alec Baldwin is returning to voice the title character, with James Marsden, Amy Sedaris and Jeff Goldblum joining the voice cast.
“Our Peacock subscribers love movies, so we are thrilled to be expanding our relationship with UFEG and to offer Peacock customers this premium content from one of the industry’s most beloved animation brands,” said Matt Strauss, NBCUniversal’s chairman of direct-to-consumer and international. “DreamWorks Animation films, from ‘Trolls World Tour’ to ‘Shrek’ and beyond are among Peacock’s top performing titles to date, and we’re certain that ‘The Boss Baby: Family Business’ is sure to become this summer’s ultimate streaming event.”