The coronavirus pandemic has taken a considerable toll on nearly every facet of society. While clearing standing out has a public health crisis, the virus has also given way to an economic recession. One industry among many that has been hit particularly hard is the movie and entertainment industry. Not only have revenue streams been cut off due to the closure of theatres, but the very nature of how movies and television shows are being filmed has shifted too.
At the beginning of the pandemic, analysts predicted that the economic cost on the movie industry would be especially high with a predicted loss of over $5 billion. This is a very dismal prediction and reflects the pessimism present when individuals evaluate the repercussions of COVID-19.
Beyond taking an economic toll, however, the virus is also significantly shifting the way the film industry functions. For one, there is the matter of filming locations. Mark Johnson, a reputable producer, notes that “like a lot of other people, we’re going to have to be very creative in where and how we shoot.” He continued to say “a lot of places just won’t let you in.” The necessity of thinking creatively about shooting locations is just one area where the film industry is changing.
Beyond hiccups with location, there is the matter of ensuring the safety of the actors and production team. It is important for the safety and well being of everyone involved that social distancing guidelines are adhered to. One producer, Lucas Foster, recounts the challenge of obtaining the desired shot while sticking to safety precautions. “I had to figure out how to do a crowd with no more than a few people at the same time. And with very specific camera angles. And by taking actors who would normally close together and making them not close together” Foster said. He continued to add that “in the end, I’d get the scene I needed but it looked different than it would have before the pandemic.”
It is likely that the films we will watch—likely in our own homes—for the next year will reflect our reality and include social distancing as well. While the industry is taking a sizeable hit, ultimately it is the movie theatres that will bear the brunt of the economic downturn. Hollywood studios can predict a sound recovery once the virus is adequately dealt with.