Covid-19 & The Film Industry

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Obviously, I am a fan of film. In fact I go to the theatre anywhere between 1 and 6 times a month, depending on what is showing. Therefore, it is not a shock that I am extremely interested in how the Covid-19 pandemic affects film. With theatres closed it has directly impacted the way we can see new movies and when. You may have noticed some companies have taken the movies scheduled for release in the coming months and postponed their releases to as far away as next spring. While other companies are releasing their films straight to streaming services and on demand platforms. How does this all impact us and the industry?

For starters I wanted to look at films that were on their opening weekend before all this began, or films that started promotions. The example I’m using is Pixar’s Onward, which came out on March 6 in Canada and the USA. My local theatre closed on March 17th, giving the film a little over a week at the box office. The film only made back roughly half of the film’s budget and it is a good film, it just wasn’t given the time. Especially coming out a week before our spring break. What did Pixar do with this film? Put it on Disney+ and made it available to purchase digitally. Which is sad given the promotion and work they put into this film. This is just one of the many films that were currently in theatres that didn’t get to see the end of their time at the box office. Additionally, The impact of this sudden drastic change in society has potential to impact the way we watch films. With straight to digital releases becoming more popular, who is to say this doesn’t become the preferred way to reach our content.

Another example of how this is taking a hit on the industry is the films that were supposed to come out in the coming months. The upcoming Black Widow film has been pushed from May 1st, 2020 to November 6th, 2020. This is an example of a film that is ready to go into theatres and has been delayed. For a company like Marvel Studios who plans their films way in advance, this could potentially push back their schedule for years to come. However, this is not even the most dramatic move as Sony Pictures moves every film set to release in summer 2020 to next year. This includes Peter Rabbit 2 (January 15, 2021), Ghostbusters: Afterlife (March 5, 2021), and Morbius (March 19, 2021). Whereas, other movies are just going straight to digital access.

Due to the obvious health concerns, productions have stopped all over the world. For example the HBO show Euphoria has halted filming. While other films like ‘Uncharted’, which was reported to start filming in Berlin had sent everyone home before getting the chance to begin. Originally I was concerned about the gap in content going into 2021, given nothing is currently in production. However, with studios pushing their release dates on content that would have been released now, I am convinced this gap won’t be as significant as I previously thought. These films now look to take on these slots.

To conclude, I hope that everyone is safe and healthy. Hopefully, soon we will see this all come to an end and the reopening of our beloved theatres across the globe. It will be interesting to see how this truly affects the film industry once productions start up again and films are released to movie theatres again, instead of our homes.


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