Before coronavirus-induced lockdowns forced the temporary closure of movie theaters all over the world, it seemed like the film and entertainment industry was on a roll.
Last year, the American box office pulled in more than $11 billion, while global box office receipts were at $42.5 billion.
Keep reading to learn how the global coronavirus pandemic has changed the film industry. The movie infographic below also provides a great summary!
How the film and entertainment industry is adjusting to the pandemic
The pandemic has had far-reaching economic effects on a number of industries, with the film and entertainment industry being one of the hardest hit.
Like most other industries, film production had to halt and readjust to the new normal.
What’s worse is that the global coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated the industry’s pre-coronavirus problems.
Even with the high box office returns, audiences have been turning to streaming services more and more, with giants like Netflix drawing in as many as 18 0 million paid subscribers.
With the year almost over, it’s time to look back at how much the global coronavirus pandemic has changed Hollywood — possibly permanently.
More streaming, fewer screenings
Even before huge theater chains like AMC, Cineworld, and Cinemark had to close their venues because of the global coronavirus pandemic temporarily, streaming was already beginning to eat at the number of people that would go to cinemas.
The global coronavirus pandemic only accelerated this change, with subscribers to streaming platforms skyrocketing as the medium became the only way for people to get any entertainment during the lockdowns implemented in various countries.
Aside from Netflix’s 180 million paid subscribers, fledgling streaming service Disney+ raised their number of paid subscribers to 50 million during the pandemic. Meanwhile, streaming firm Roku’s subscriber base of 40 million is expected to jump as high as 125 million.
Things aren’t looking for American movie theaters anytime soon as the coronavirus’s continued rampage has prevented the reopening of theaters. Cineworld recently announced that they would be temporarily closing theaters in the United States after audiences failed to show up for Tenet, Christopher Nolan’s latest film.
To premiere or not to premiere
Hollywood productions have budgets that run in the hundreds of millions, and it takes packed theaters to recoup that investment. But with streaming to contend with and people not feeling safe enough to head to theaters, studios are now hesitant to release their tentpole films.
The underperformance of Tenet in American theaters, for instance, has resulted in several would-be blockbusters being moved to different premiere dates than initially intended. Wonder Woman 1984, which was initially set to premiere in October, has now been moved to Christmas Day.
Disney’s Black Widow and the latest Bond film, No Time to Die, have been moved to 2021. Films like Warner Bros.’ Black Adam and Minecraft have fared even worse, with no set release date revealed for both films.
In turn, it creates an effect that could be disastrous for the industry. With no blockbusters to showcase, theaters are forced to close. With theaters closed, where will Hollywood showcase these blockbusters?
With no blockbusters to showcase, theaters are forced to close. With theaters closed, where will Hollywood showcase these blockbusters?
Pricey production delays
The health and safety protocols introduced to stem the spread of the coronavirus on film and television sets include regular testing and the enforcement of a quarantine, should a member of the production test positive for the virus.
Because of these protocols, productions often find shooting pushed back a couple of weeks or more whenever a member of the production tests positive. Affected projects can range from blockbuster films to long-running soap operas. Budgets have also ballooned because of the added requirements.
For instance, Jurassic World: Dominion had to stop filming after a small number of positive tests emerged among the film crew. Under the strict health and safety protocols the film had in place, production had been delayed for two weeks.
The strict health and safety protocols also come with a hefty price tag. Since it involves thrice-a-week coronavirus testing and a quarantine bubble for cast and crew, the film’s budget has reportedly increased by more than $3 million.
The delay also came after the film restarted shooting after halting production in March when the global coronavirus pandemic was quickly spreading around the world. Jurassic World: Dominion was just one of the many films that had to halt at the time.
Even long-running productions like NBC’s Days of Our Lives, which recently restarted shooting, had to suspend its production for two weeks after a crew member tested positive for the coronavirus.
Say hello to hybrids
With the reopening of theaters still uncertain, Hollywood has increasingly turned to streaming and paid video-on-demand (VOD) to generate revenue during the global coronavirus pandemic.
The move began as early as May of this year when the pandemic was only in its second month in the United States. Universal Studio’s Trolls World Tour premiered on video-on-demand and made $100 million in digital rentals in the space of three weeks. It’s only $50 million less than the first Trolls movie’s five-month run.
By September, Disney also copied the same strategy for Mulan. While the film was released in countries that have managed to manage their coronavirus outbreaks, Disney released the film on their streaming service Disney+ in the United States. Subscribers could rent it for $29.99 or wait until December when the movie becomes a part of the regular Disney+ library.
Choosing to release both in theaters and on their proprietary streaming service could help Disney recoup some of the production costs in making Mulan especially since it was not well-received in international markets. Since all the Disney+ revenue goes directly to Disney, it only needs to earn $93 million to earn what would be equivalent to $186 million in theaters.
This hybrid strategy could also end up bailing out both Hollywood and the movie theater industry, something that both AMC Theaters and Universal Studios recognized as they inked a deal back in July that would allow the studio a shorter window to premiere their films on VOD after it is released in theaters.
What the future holds
With the global coronavirus pandemic still very much an issue for most of the world, Hollywood has found itself profoundly affected — often with no idea of responding and adapting to the situation.
One thing’s clear, there will be a new normal once the global coronavirus pandemic passes, and it could result in a very different Hollywood landscape.
Looking for coronavirus infographic templates? Here are 20 Coronavirus Infographics: Reusable Templates and Resources
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