It’s hard not to question the motives and decision-making of the writers and creatives who decided to film a thriller that is literally about the COVID-19 pandemic while we still happen to be in the midst of said pandemic. Especially considering that the pandemic is, at this moment, the worst that it’s ever been in the U.S., with a current surge that may soon see the U.S. at 200,000 new daily infections or more. Still, that didn’t stop Michael Bay and company from shooting and now releasing the film Songbird. Fittingly, the film will be coming out exclusively on premium video-on-demand, with a planned date of Dec. 11.
Songbird is directed by Adam Mason from a script he co-wrote with Simon Boyes, and was produced by Bay—not exactly a film industry figure known for tact and good taste. It takes place in the not-too-distant future of the U.S., in a dystopian society where COVID-19 mutated into “COVID-23” and became far more lethal. In this world, a strict quarantine is now in its fourth year, enforced with draconian government measures, while those infected with the virus are taken to quarantine camps. Not exactly the most subtle expression of what would seem to be right-wing beliefs, right there. The film stars Riverdale’s KJ Apa as a courier who is lucky to be one of few immune to the virus, as he tries to connect with a woman he loves (Sofia Carson) who suspects she may have contracted it. Songbird also stars Craig Robinson, Bradley Whitford, Demi Moore and Paul Walter Hauser.
“The pandemic has affected every aspect of our business, from production to release, but ‘Songbird’ demonstrates that a nimble studio like STX can find effective and profitable ways to make their movies work,” said STXfilms Motion Picture Group chairman Adam Fogelson. “The show must go on. Songbird is a thrilling movie that will speak to audiences in this moment as it keeps them on the edge of their seats.”
You’ll have to forgive us if we land more on the side of “profiteering off a still-unfolding global catastrophe” rather than “a thrilling movie that will speak to audiences in this moment” when we look at the trailer for Songbird, which you can see below. It strikes us as a callous thing to release over a holiday season that will likely see spikes in COVID-19 related deaths.
Songbird will hit PVOD on Dec. 11, 2020 with a $20 price tag, available for 48-hour rentals. STX states that the film will then head to a streaming service, but hasn’t yet announced which one, or after how long. Check out the dubious trailer below.