Features and Columns · Movies

What’s New on VOD for May 2020

The newly minted era of “virtual cinema” is upon us. We explore what’s new and notable on VOD in May.
Vod May
By  · Published on May 1st, 2020

We’re deep into a global cinema economy that has been forced to find its place in video-on-demand and streaming cubbies across the internet. Every day there’s another announcement about a rescheduled movie release, whether it’s a studio tentpole that’s been pushed back a year, an arthouse film that’s still weighing its options, or Judd Apatow’s latest, The King of Staten Island announcing it would skip theaters and take its chances on a digital premiere.

With everyone holed up in their homes, paid video-on-demand (PVOD) has quickly become the most promising option for any new movie trying to make a wave. As a result, the typical fare is heavily supplemented, and May is one of the heartiest months for PVOD in a while. Compare 52 releases this month to last month’s 36.

It’s a strange, emotional, and unpredictable time to be alive, and that extends to movie release schedules as prominently as anything else. Below, you’ll find the list of films hitting VOD in May, but first, here are a few highlights:

Virtual Cinema

Theatrical releases that have since pivoted to PVOD releases have been coined “virtual cinema” by marketers and distributors. There were a couple of weeks when it seemed like every theatrical release would be pushed, but after Trolls World Tour raked in over $100 million online alone (and starting an industry war in the process), more productions have decided to take their chances going straight to VOD and distinguishing themselves through pricier rentals.

Among the many virtual cinema releases in May are the animated Scooby-Doo feature Scoob! (May 15th), the SXSW hopeful Bull (May 1st), which was originally slated for a limited theatrical release immediately after the festival, and the highly anticipated crime drama Capone (May 12th), in which Tom Hardy takes on the role of the infamous American gangster Al Capone. Plus, Neon’s got some innovative plans for its two new documentaries, Spaceship Earth (May 8th) and The Painter and The Thief (May 22nd).

Cannes Boundary Pushers

The 2019 Cannes Film Festival was chockablock with films that made audiences feel uncomfortable. But, that’s nothing new for Cannes. Every year, the Croisette welcomes vulgar and controversial expressions of cinema that are exquisitely crafted. But it’s less common that two of them land on the American public’s radar in a single month. And outside of the context of Cannes, they’re sure to shock you. Liberté (May 1st) displays wild sexual deviance through the rejection of 18th century French morality by a group of libertines, and Deerskin (May 1st) follows a man who gives everything up for the sake of his new jacket, only to find himself in a dilly of a pickle drenched in absurdity and violence.

The Lodge

Lastly, no matter what stands out to you on the list below, make sure you save enough of your digital dollars to rent Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala’s 2019 Sundance horror hit, The Lodge (May 5th). The aunt-nephew filmmaking duo has an unparalleled knack for realist horror that leaves you questioning the presence of the supernatural around every corner. Not to mention, the first twenty minutes contains one of the most incredibly shocking moments in cinema in recent memory. The screams at the Sundance premiere remain the loudest I’ve heard in a movie theater.

May 15G ZombiesHorror
May 1BullDrama
May 1DeerskinComedy
May 1LibertéDrama
May 1Our MothersDrama
May 1Tammy's Always DyingDrama
May 1The FloodDrama
May 1The InfiltratorsDocumentary
May 1The WretchedHorror
May 5AccommodationsComedy
May 5ArkansasThriller
May 5Cry for the Bad ManHorror
May 5Cry HavocHorror
May 5Justice League Dark: Apokolips WarAnimation
May 5Mother's Little HelpersComedy
May 5Ordinary LoveRomance
May 5The LodgeHorror
May 5Working ManDrama
May 7DrivewaysDrama
May 8A Good Woman Is Hard to FindCrime
May 8ClementineDrama
May 8Hope GapRomance
May 8How to Build a GirlComedy
May 8Intrigo: Dear AgnesDrama
May 8PornoComedy
May 8RewindDocumentary
May 8Valley GirlRomance
May 8Walkaway JoeAction
May 8Spaceship EarthDocumentary
May 12A Nun's CurseHorror
May 12CaponeCrime
May 12Evil Little ThingsHorror
May 12Fantasy IslandHorror
May 12Finding EdenThriller
May 12Graves Without a NameDocumentary
May 12The TraitorCrime
May 15Blood and MoneyThriller
May 15Scoob!Adventure
May 19BuffaloedComedy
May 19ChameleonCrime
May 19Last Moment of ClarityThriller
May 19Ovid and the Art of LoveDrama
May 19PromareAnimation
May 22InheritanceThriller
May 22Man in CamoDocumentary
May 22Survive the NightAction
May 22The HauntedHorror
May 22The Trip to GreeceComedy
May 22VillainCrime
May 22The Painter and the ThiefDocumentary
May 26Girls Just Want to Have BloodHorror
May 29Debt CollectorsAction

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Luke Hicks is a New York City film journalist by way of Austin, TX, and an arts enthusiast who earned his master's studying film philosophy and ethics at Duke. He thinks every occasion should include one of the following: whiskey, coffee, gin, tea, beer, or olives. Love or lambast him @lou_kicks.