'Firestarter' Is Actually Streaming Now, the Same Day as Theaters
Firestarter is a rare new movie released simultaneously on the big screen and streaming, starting Friday. Here's everything to know.
Joan E. SolsmanFormer Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
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Last year, an unprecedented number of new theatrical movies streamed online the same day they hit cinemas. But this year, as COVID-19 restrictions have eased and audiences returned to cinemas, the practice has nearly vanished. Pretty much all movies now get at least a month and a half in theaters exclusively -- often longer.
Firestarter -- the reboot of the Stephen King thriller starring Zac Efron-- is a rare exception. The movie started streaming the same day as its theatrical release Friday. Here are the main things to know.
Where is Firestarter streaming?
Firestarter became available to stream on Peacock Friday, the same day it hit theaters. Peacock is owned by Comcast's NBCUniversal, and Universal Pictures is the movie's distributor.
Is Firestarter free to stream?
No, Firestarter is behind Peacock's subscription paywall, but the movie is available to Peacock premium subscribers without any additional fee. So if you're already a premium subscriber to Peacock, then you can stream Firestarter just like anything else on the service.
If you don't already have a premium Peacock subscription, you'll need to sign up for a $5-a-month or a $10-a-month premium tier if you want to watch Halloween Kills or any of Peacock's other paywalled programming (like Yellowstone, Premier League matches, WWE, The Office and other popular stuff.)
Peacock has some deals that could reduce -- or even eliminate -- the cost of being a premium member.
How long will Firestarter be on Peacock?
Typically, Peacock streams these same-day releases for one month, so you can expect Firestarter to depart the service around mid-June.
For a few months after that, Firestarter isn't expected to be available to stream anywhere.
Where (and when) will Firestarter be streaming next?
HBO and HBO Max are the next destinations for Universal's movies like Firestarter, thanks to what's known as a pay-one licensing deal with Universal. If Firestarter sticks to the same schedule as Halloween Kills (the last Universal movie that was released on Peacock the same day as theaters), then Firestarter would end up on HBO and HBO Max about five months after its initial release date. That would time its arrival to stream on Max for mid-October.