Pete Davidson & Judd Apatow Movie ‘King of Staten Island’ Skips Theatrical, Hits VOD This Summer

Mary Cybulski/Universal Pictures

Judd Apatow said Monday during an Instagram/Twitter conversation with Saturday Night Live‘s Pete Davidson that their summer comedy The King of Staten Island, originally slated to hit theaters on June 19, will now go on VOD on June 12.

The comedy based on Davidson’s life, directed by Apatow and co-written by Davidson, Apatow and former SNL scribe David Sirus, was expected to make its world premiere at SXSW with further play at the Tribeca Film Festival. Both events were canceled because of the coronavirus lockdown.

In the below video, Davidson is asking Apatow about the status of the movie. “Dude, what is going on with our movie?” he asks. “Am I still going to get an Oscar?”

Apatow says he hasn’t heard anything from Universal. “I don’t think you’re going to get an Oscar if it doesn’t come out.”

“Can we make a DVD and sell it in Times Square, like old school?” asks Apatow, who then suggests “What if we put it on demand? Cause I just ran out of stuff and I just watched all the Look Who’s Talking movies and ran out of stuff to watch.” At which they digress into a hysterical chat on the Travolta movies and how Danny DeVito voice a dog in the movie.

Apatow then phones Universal and tells Davidson “They’re into it…so don’t tell anyone, it’s a secret, they’re going to do some fancy announcement.”

We had been hearing whispers in the distribution community that King of Staten Island would potentially be moved, but no one was expecting this as another budget comedy bites the dust at least from a theatrical release standpoint in heading to homes. King of Staten Island follows such movies as My Spy (which is going to Amazon), American Pickle (which is headed to HBO Max), Lovebirds (to Netflix) in skipping theatrical and heading to streaming. Warner Bros announced last week that they’re releasing Scoob! directly to PVOD.

While theaters have talked about ramping up their openings in late June for a full July debut heading to Warner Bros’ Christopher Nolan movie Tenet on July 17, Lionsgate’s thriller Fatale and Uni’s King of Staten Island were left dangling on the calendar June 19, the hope on paper being proper mid-sized, non global day-and-date fare that could get exhibition started with moviegoers expected to crawl back to the theaters. That’s clearly not the case now, and exhibitors are going to need good, solid fresh product before they open. King of Staten Island would have been great start.

Universal recently experimented with having DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls World Tour relegated to PVOD over Easter weekend with the the closing of theaters during the COVID-19 pandemic; the movie reportedly made $40M-$50M in its first weekend.

In King of Staten Island, Davidson plays Scott, who has been a case of arrested development ever since his firefighter father died when he was 7. He’s now reached his mid-20s having achieved little, chasing a dream of becoming a tattoo artist that seems far out of reach. As his ambitious younger sister (Maude Apatow) heads off to college, Scott is still living with his exhausted ER nurse mother (Marisa Tomei) and spends his days smoking weed, hanging with the guys—Oscar (Ricky Velez), Igor (Moises Arias) and Richie (Lou Wilson)—and secretly hooking up with his childhood friend Kelsey (Bel Powley). But when his mother starts dating a loudmouth firefighter named Ray (Bill Burr), it sets off a chain of events that will force Scott to grapple with his grief and take his first tentative steps toward moving forward in life.

Pic also stars Steve Buscemi as Papa, a veteran firefighter who takes Scott under his wing, and Pamela Adlon as Ray’s ex-wife, Gina.

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