COVID-19 continues to reshape the world around us day-after-day. We’re constantly receiving breaking news alerts about the latest number of confirmed cases in any region, new policies mandated by Congress, and all the different municipalities forcing curvews and overall lockdown.
Movies are supposed to be the place we go to escape from all of this craziness for a couple hours. Now, they’re one of the most impacted industries.
It seems like every week a major release has been delayed or is going straight to VOD, which is having major ramifications on budgets for films and economic impact on local movie theaters. While there’s always a good chance the industry will find a way to recover, this is what could potentially happen if it doesn’t…
Streaming Becomes King
People are turning to streaming more than ever during this pandemic.
While stuck at home, what better way to pass the time than binging that show you’ve been dying to watch or having a movie marathon with friends and family?
Experts working for the President say this outbreak could maybe last until August, and if it remains so bad that we’re urged to sit inside for a couple more months, not only will users be using it more often, but there could be a huge uptick in subscribers.
People will get so used to having these services they could just remain as a faithful subscriber, making this one of streaming’s biggest years to date. This may be a huge turning point in the cable vs. streaming war (if only streaming made one little change).
Plus, with the new trend of releasing upcoming films straight to VOD, services like Disney+ could add a lot of their films to the service a lot sooner than expected (like they did with Onward and Frozen II). Why wouldn’t you switch from cable to streaming?
Though, it could kill more than just cable…
Can Movie Theaters Survive?
It’s expensive to run a movie theater, and with all of the movies that are pulling their films out of theaters early, or delaying them entirely, the question needs to be asked: “Will theaters survive?”
They’ve already taken a massive hit in recent years as streaming became so popular, but this could be the final nail in many theater’s coffins. (Also, you may be to blame a little too.)
Even when theaters reopen, people will still be apprehensive about going out in public after literally months of social distancing.
With some studios releasing their films straight to VOD for $20, people could prefer this to going out to the theater. If this becomes the new trend, it will shift the entire landscape of the film industry.
This would be a shift that many theater’s won’t be able to recover from. It’s a shift that could even impact the way movies are made
Increase of Smaller Productions
If everything mentioned above comes to fruition and people do end up preferring streaming and straight to VOD rentals, movies themselves won’t be the same.
Neither of these options would bear the studio with much profit, so they would be required to spend less money on making them. This would either signal a large decrease in large blockbusters like Avengers or a major push for smaller budget films like Shazam!.
Even if none of this actually happens, studios will be taking a major loss this year and will be in need of big hits, which means less production houses would be willing to spend big. Because of that, studios will be on the look out for promising, low-budget original films that could profit big (think John Wick or Knives Out).
On the bright side: It’s crazy to think out of all of this, we could finally see a rise of original films and franchises, something we so desperately need.
All we can do is wait and see what happens. We’ve got a crazy couple of years ahead of us as we all recover from this pandemic.
What we do know is that this fall is going to be an insane season for movies. Until then, stay healthy and stay home. The sooner we can control this virus, the better. Less people will die and we’ll get back to normal sooner rather than later… oh, and it’ll be sooner that we can get back in the theater.