An earlier version of this story reported that Greenland was premiering on Amazon Prime in the U.S. this month. We regret the error.
One-time theatrical release Greenland, the Gerard Butler vehicle in which the star must try to save his family from a comet hurtling toward the Earth, is going to skip theaters altogether after moving out of its initial release date.
Originally slated to come out in theaters on September 25, Greenland will now premiere as a premium video on demand (PVOD) release in the fourth quarter of 2020, with the film debuting sometime in early 2021 on HBO and its streaming service, HBO Max. The film will also arrive via Amazon Prime Video in Canada, Australia, and the U.K. The exact dates for the PVOD and HBO launches are yet to be specified.
Butler stars in the film as John Garrity, a construction engineer who begins getting mysterious messages from Homeland Security that a massive comet that is supposed to harmlessly buzz by us is instead aimed right for the planet. Instructed to head for a sanctuary located at the title land mass, Garrity fights against all kinds of dangers — human and natural — to get his wife (Morena Baccarin) and son to safety.
Greenland is directed by Ric Roman Waugh, who teamed with Butler last year for Angel Has Fallen, and the film reportedly cost a very reasonable — for an action spectacle — $35 million to make. But the tepid arrival of Christopher Nolan’s Tenet in North American theaters earlier this month showed that audiences were not ready to return in droves even for a massive epic from a brand-name director.
As a result, other big-ticket films like Wonder Woman 1984, Candyman and Black Widow began moving dates or dropping out of 2020 entirely, with the continuing coronavirus pandemic still putting a major hurt on theatrical exhibition.
Now Greenland has followed suit, although unlike those other films it’s headed straight for digital. With the movie already released in 22 overseas markets over the summer (where it’s earned $45 million to date), distributor STX might have been concerned that waiting too long for a better theatrical release window might have led to the increased the chances of people pirating the movie from overseas sources.
The good news is that you’ll get to see Gerard Butler battle it out with an extinction level comet in the comfort of your own home, although the bad news is that once again, major movie chains like AMC and Regal are losing out on yet another potential box office draw — and another opportunity to pull their business out of the morass it’s in.