The State of the Movie Industry During COVID-19

By James Ciambor


It’s not just restaurants and retail taking a hit with Coronavirus, many major film companies are as well. The major film studios find themselves in a difficult position now that people are kept home isolated from the outside world and this has had a detrimental impact on the film studios profits. Stock prices for many major film companies have taken a hit as a result of this widespread pandemic, with Disney even falling behind Netflix and other binge watching favorites. In the foreseeable future it's uncertain what will happen since our economy has taken its worse turn since the Great Depression 80 years ago. But unlike the Great Depression movie theaters and studios are not thriving but in a state of panic, especially when a lot of major releases are going to be put out via on-demand video instead of being in theaters like was originally intended.


The movie Trolls World Tour is now available via streaming services and Pixar might be attempting something similar with its upcoming movie Soul. Because of Universal’s decision to put their Trolls movie out on-demand, the movie theater chain AMC has decided to ban all of Universal's films from being released in their theaters. While theater companies are suffering, the hourly employees at these theaters will be the ones to suffer most. The employees at the theaters are jobless due to this outbreak and it’s uncertain what the future holds for them. The global effect on the movie industry is alarming, Italy which was hit hardest by the pandemic in Europe has box-office loses of over 70 to 75% from recent years. South Korea which is another major movie market has lost 60% of their box-office gross from last year over this pandemic.


The pandemic also has impacted films still in production, James Cameron’s Avatar franchise had upcoming sequels in production that have now been put on hold. Franchises like The Matrix, Mission Impossible, and Batman are being put on hold until further notice.


The coming months look pretty grim for the once thriving industry, and what the future holds post-pandemic is unknowable at the moment. Will this moment in history push the industry to a future of on-demand in-home releases, or will the in-person, large-screen experience prevail as theaters re-open?




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