COVID-19 Vs. The Film Industry


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Image taken from the European Parliament

Will the film industry ever be the same?

The Coronavirus pandemic has halted film production and closed cinemas all around the world. Movies have been either postponed to future dates or canceled altogether. Attendance in theaters has lowered. The global box office has decreased significantly, dropping by billions of dollars.

Why is this a problem?

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) released a study in 2017 revealing that Hollywood supports more than 2 million jobs and 40,000 American businesses. Now that the industry has been slammed by the pandemic, what’s been happening to all those jobs and businesses? As you’ve probably already guessed, many people have lost their jobs and money has gone down the drain. The MPAA states that the film industry “continues to be a key driver of the U.S. economy, adding high-quality domestic jobs and paying out $49 billion to local businesses across the country.” 

Something that should be considered is that the movie industry was experiencing negative change, even before the pandemic. This wasn’t due to the movie-going experience being unpleasant, as that’s not the case. Operators have been introducing improved audio-visual technology, more comfortable seating, and subscription offers—all improvements to the movie-going experience. The problem is the streaming environment. Even before the pandemic, more and more people had been moving to streaming videos on demand instead of going to the theater. Siddharth Jain, director at one of India’s top multiplex groups, explains that “There is a huge demand for theatres which are able to offer a vast range of bespoke experiences to those looking for great value family and corporate entertainment.” Theaters seem to just not give people that experience that they want.

All of this, combined with the level of uncertainty surrounding this pandemic, makes it seem like it will be a long time before normality begins to resume for film industries around the world.