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Netflix Scoops Up Paramount’s ‘The Lovebirds’ After Canceled Theatrical Release

Beleaguered by current events, Paramount Pictures' rom-com starring Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani will skip theaters and head straight to streaming.

Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani star in Paramount Pictures' "The Lovebirds."

“The Lovebirds”

Skip Bolen

Paramount Pictures’ romantic comedy “The Lovebirds,” which saw its SXSW premiere pulled once the Austin festival canceled the 2020 edition, and then its April 3 release date yanked entirely, has been picked up by Netflix. Starring Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani as a couple embroiled in a murder mystery, the movie, according to Deadline, will skip theatrical and head straight to streaming on Netflix. The film is directed by Michael Showalter, whose last film was 2017’s Academy Award-nominated “The Big Sick.”

A launch date for “The Lovebirds” has yet to be announced, but IndieWire has reached out to Netflix for comment.

The Netflix-Paramount relationship goes back to early 2018, when Netflix reportedly paid more than $50 million for the J.J. Abrams-produced horror sequel “The Cloverfield Paradox,” helping the studio avoid what could have been a theatrical misfire. Directed by Julius Onah, that film skipped theaters in North America and went straight to Netflix streaming.

Netflix also picked up the international rights to Paramount’s underperforming science-fiction film “Annihilation” during its disappointing stateside run. Netflix quickly got Alex Garland’s moody thriller out globally thereafter.

The Netflix deal is one of many decisions reshaping the release calendar: Today, Paramount also announced that winter family favorite “Sonic the Hedgehog” will be available on VOD platforms for purchase on March 31, way ahead of the film’s May street date on Blu-ray and for rental. Disney will make the Pixar movie “Onward” available for VOD purchase beginning tonight, March 20, at 5 p.m. PT. That film, which saw a 73 percent drop last weekend amid theater shutdowns even while holding onto the top spot at the box office, will then head to Disney+ April 3.

Other movies finding stopgap hopes on streaming include Disney’s own “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” along with Universal’s “The Invisible Man” and “The Hunt,” and Universal-owned Focus Features’ “Emma.”

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