Right after the pandemic hit, the world ground to a halt. Restaurants closed, businesses stopped and people had to shutter in, this included all of Hollywood.
Film festivals were halted and over 40,000 attendees lost. Big budget films were postponed or delayed and Hollywood productions stopped midway. And worse, over 200,000 people in Hollywood, from production staff, cast and crew, lost their job.
Theater Closings and More
By the time lockdowns were implemented across the globe, it had a ripple effect in the film industry. As theaters were ordered to close down, the industry lost a chunk of its normal expected revenue. For example, in China on January 2019, the film industry raked in $1.5 billion in 20 days. But on January 2020, soon after the first cases of the virus showed up and film theaters closed down, the revenue only amounted to $3.9 million.
Some countries fought back, enforcing social distancing in movie theaters but this didn’t pan out and soon, they were ordered shut.
With no place to go and ordered to stay in place, people turned to online media and streaming services for their entertainment. This demand for streaming entertainment was already causing Hollywood disruption in how films were made and consumed before the pandemic hit but since it did, it’s expected to only grow bigger.
Streaming Content and Movies
Online streaming has become the norm of media consumption for life in lockdown. This demand meant more people are getting used to the idea streaming content and watching films and movies at home, instead of heading to the theatres, is going to be part of life moving forward. While theatres will likely reopen, it’s not going to go back to normal instantly or even in the near future.
Indie filmmakers and even large Hollywood productions are now seeing the advantages and options they have using this new model.
Streaming platforms like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video already cater to an existing audience. Some of which have specific tastes. These viewers will find a film to their taste and they will watch it. Even more, the audience is worldwide and not limited to specific seats in a movie theater.
When it comes to getting films made, indie filmmakers are also getting creative more than ever. This is apparent in the way they fund their film. Instead of relying on large studios or producers to support the project, they’re heading directly to the audience and ordinary people. Indie productions are now crowdsourcing their budgets, offering everyday investors a chance to invest in their films.
How Hollywood Will Move Forward
Of course, after months of being shuttered, the lockdown is now starting to get lifted in some countries. There’s a lot of speculation over how Hollywood and film production sets will move forward now that there are social distancing restrictions in place. Los Angeles County, for instance, has issued safety protocols for restarting film as well as movie productions.
Some of the rules include the following:
- Strict health checks for employees and vendors on set
- Only essential crew and cast allowed on the set
- Masks and cloth face coverings required for cast and crew
- Handwashing encouraged for actors and those on set
- Prolonged physical contact discouraged
- Shooting scenes with tons of background extras or crowded scenes discouraged
- For live shows, staff can serve as audience members with proper social distancing
- Only 25% capacity for live shows and sitcoms
- All food items and services should be done single serve, no more buffets
While it can allow for productions to push through and start, there’s going to be some major adjustment for everyone involved.
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