How covid-19 affected theaters and the film industry
In March of 2020, the year would take an unexpected change. The COVID-19 virus broke out forcing people to quarantine and if people were to go anywhere they must wear a mask and stay six feet apart. A lot of businesses were hurt by this. And I would say one of the businesses that got hurt the most from this would be movie studios and movie theatres.
Movie theatres were forced to shut down and that hurt not only theatre companies but also movie studios. Movie theatres like AMC don’t know if they’ll be able to recover from the closings and may just go out of business. Another thing that took a toll on the movie theatres are the movies going to VOD so you can just buy them at home and watch them, AMC now refuses to play any universal movie at their theatres after universal broke a contract with AMC by releasing trolls world tour on VOD.
Big movie studios like Disney, Pixar, Warner Brothers, Blumhouse, Universal, etc… had to completely stop shooting whatever they were shooting due to the pandemic. Movie studios also had to rearrange their schedules saving their blockbusters for when everything is normal while still releasing some movies onto VOD so they can still make money. For example, Disney usually puts out 3 marvel movies a year and this year we were also supposed to get 3 marvel shows but they were all pushed to next year with ‘Wanda and Vision’ kicking their 2021 schedule off with a January 15th release date.
Blumhouse had to delay one of the most anticipated movies of this year ‘Halloween Kills’ which was supposed to come out October of 2020 but due to the pandemic and them absolutely dedicated to releasing this around Halloween, it will now be released October 2021. Universal has had to keep moving ‘Fast and Furious’ and ‘Godzilla vs Kong’ so far into next year into a week where there isn’t any competition that could overtake those movies in the box office. And Warner Brothers had to stop filming ‘The Batman’ about 3 times now, due to their main actor getting covid and the initial pandemic. And Warner Brothers as well had to push their blockbusters like ‘Wonder Woman 84’ into December but will most likely be next year. And recent reports say that ‘Wonder Woman 84’ will be going to HBO max same day as it hits theatres on Christmas day which will hurt the theatres because people who have HBO max will be able to stay home and watch it instead of driving to the nearest theatre.
Another movie that was supposed to come out this year and will now be releasing next year is ‘Willys Wonderland’. It’s a horror movie starring Nicolas Cage. I was lucky enough to be able to have a little interview with the writer/creator of ‘Willys Wonderland’ G.O. Parsons. When he was asked “Did covid affect the editing of Willy’s Wonderland? If so, how?” Parsons said “Yes. It slowed it way down. Had to get notes and work had to be done one person at a time (as compared to all at once).” I then asked him “What was the biggest challenge of making this film with the pandemic going on?” and Parsons replied with “Above – But the most difficult thing is insurance for productions. We finished before the pandemic hit with principal photography but if it had happened halfway through the movie or if Nicolas Cage had gotten sick the production would have shut down and who knows if it would have been able to recover.”
Another part of the film industry that is hurting is the short film community. Short films are usually posted to youtube. It’s a way to tell your story if your low budget, just hasn’t made it big yet, for fun, there are so many reasons why people make short films. I was also to get an interview with Silas Dun, a small short film creator on youtube. I asked Silas “During the making of your most recent short film, did covid restrictions cause any problems?” and he replied with “Not really, just made sure everyone was comfortable and kept the crew pretty small” So covid may not be affecting the short film community as much as it is affecting the film studios.
But film productions are returning and they’re using some very safe precautions. They all wear masks unless they are the actor or actress in the scene other than that masks are on and the crew keeps a safe distance from each other and they get tested for covid regularly. Disney has seemed to have done a very good job at keeping their cast and crew of their upcoming Marvel movie ‘Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings’. It is reported that over 40,000 covid tests were done while shooting and not a single positive case during its production that as of now has wrapped.
TV studios also were hurting from this. Shows shut down production in the middle of seasons making fans wait months and months for the other half or in ‘the walking dead’s case they had fans wait months just for the finale of the season. TV productions are back up and running and are figuring out when to start releasing new episodes, as well as tracking covid cases so they can be prepared if they were to get shut down again. TV productions are taking the same safety steps and film productions. Masks on and social distancing unless they’re in the shot.