Lights! Camera! Quarantine!

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Katie Popp

The everyday functions of people and businesses across the globe were uprooted this past March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Retail stores and restaurants quickly turned to online ordering and delivery, whereas amusement parks looked into ways to reopen. However, one of the greatest industries that faced the hardest economic struggle during an unprecedented time was the film industry.

According to the World Economic Forum, the film industry brings in nearly $136 billion worldwide, $42 billion of which coming from the United States. The industry supports over 400,000 other businesses and provides two million jobs. In the US, it was projected that 60% (nearly $17 billion) of revenue would be lost compared to 2019. Major film companies in Germany and England stopped major productions and projects to help the spread of the virus. While the number of employees let go are unavailable, employee paychecks were cut 70-85% (based on the employee’s position). Other European countries, such as Italy, were able to prepare by connecting with online streaming services to still bring in revenue from new films. 

Due to theaters closing, Hollywood was forced to find other options for new films to be seen and still bring in revenue. Similar to Italy, many American  studios looked to online streaming services to bring in views. For example, the movie Greyhound (starring Tom Hanks) was set to be released in theaters in early July. Instead, the movie was able to view through Apple+. Other movies, such as Hamiliton and Frozen 2 were given early viewing access to those with Disney+. Most streaming services have reported that the number of subscriptions have increased by 49% (three million new viewers) compared to previous years. Netflix took advantage of the surge of new subscribers by adding new series (The Tiger King, for example) that grabbed the attention of the viewers and created a large buzz through social media.

Even though the industry was able to find ways to prevent a major drop in revenue, several films and television programs had to push filming into late 2020 and possibly early-mid 2021. The FRIENDS reunion special was planned to air with the new HBO Max service back in May, however, the show still remains to be filmed until November. Television shows like This is Us and Chicago Fire are beginning to film new seasons this month, originally when the seasons were supposed to air. Finally, major movies such as Mission: Impossible 7, The Nightingale, The Batman, and The Quiet Place II have been pushed from their 2020 release dates into 2021.

All in all, the film industry has been faced with many challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, this did not stop them from releasing great productions for us to enjoy while we are at home, and have us looking towards the future for new projects coming soon.