Arts and Entertainment

How has COVID-19 affected Hollywood?

Moviegoers sit, waiting for their movie to start at the AMC Burbank theatre on reopening day in Burbank, California, March 15, 2021. - Los Angeles and southern California is allowed to partially reopen indoor dining and movie theaters Governor Gavin Newsom announced last week, as the region hit key health criteria. Slammed by a brutal Covid-19 pandemic winter spike, California has seen a rapid decline in infection rates in recent weeks as a vaccination rollout has delivered at least one dose to nearly a fifth of residents. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP) (Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

As with every other aspect of our lives, the film and television industry was struck hard when COVID came onto the scene. Movies were delayed indefinitely, productions were shut down, and no one knew when things would be back up and running. Some TV shows that were released around that time, such as Netflix’s Tiger King, became huge successes. Nobody had much to do with their time during the height of COVID so streaming services became more valuable than ever before. Eventually, as time passed, productions began to make a comeback.Movie theaters reopened, and delayed movies, like Tenet, were released to the public. However, these movie releases’ box office revenue were extremely underwhelming as audiences were not yet ready to go back to the theater. Streaming services and viewing from home was the preferred method of watching a movie. 

The environment for film production has also changed. Now, there are masks as well as vaccine requirements for film and television sets. These new health precautions have created issues for many. Film and television productions have been paused  numerous times due to issues over mask and vaccine cooperation. Some actors, directors and other members of productions have been removed from their positions due to their refusal to comply with mask and vaccine mandates. In 2021, Warner Brothers, one of the largest cinema distribution companies, made the radical decision to release their upcoming movies in theaters and on streaming services on the same day of release. Now, if you did not want to go see the next big Warner Brothers movie in theaters, with HBO Max, you were able to watch it from your home. Streaming really seems to be the future of outgoing media, the cineplex, slowly dying. That is the true dynamic that’s grown out of all this. Instead of film production companies risking putting their movie in theaters, which often costs more than it pays off in the end, studios now distribute their product primarily through one of the infinite streaming sites. The whole business has changed the way it perceives its audience. Even the Academy Awards will now give equal consideration to films primarily shown via streaming services. Now, it’s not about selling movie tickets, rather it is more about the click of the remote to stream the new release from home. Is this temporary? Will this kill the movie theater business? Only time will tell.