The covid 19 pandemics have had a major impact on all aspects of our lives and the Film Industry is no exception. The pandemic has had a dramatic effect on the film industry and the movie theatres in 2020. When the covid 19 pandemics had started spreading across the world, cinemas have been closed and many movies release have been postponed indefinitely.

As we know watching movies at cinemas is by nature a high-risk environment as it often packs many people together into a small space for many hours, so it can be really difficult to clean them and make them ideal for a contagious virus-like Covid 19. That is the reason why even after the end of the first wave and second wave of the covid 19 viruses, still movie theatres are not opening properly in many parts of the world.

Due to the closing of movie theatres all across the world, the global box office has dropped by crores and from then streaming has become a trend, and many films were released in 2020 and 2021 on the OTT platforms.

How are movie theater chains are adjusting to these Unprecedented times?

It is really becoming difficult for movie theatre chains as well as movie production houses to get adjusted to these unprecedented times. In this difficult situation of covid 19 many cinema halls and also major movie theatre chains have been forced to close down. Many theatres are closed down for bankruptcy. Many small and single-screen theatres are earning money by providing private screenings to small groups of people.

Many states have decided to reopen the theatres with properly maintaining social distancing but distribution companies are not releasing new movies. Many major and minor theatre releases were postponed as the covid 19 pandemics grew worse this year. Many production houses were not ready to wait for months, so they decided to release their films digitally earlier.

But there are also production companies who want to see their films released in theatres instead of digitally, so they postponed the releasing dates of their films indefinitely, like Disney’s live-action movie A quiet place part II and Wonder Woman 1984.

Production of most of the films is at a halt right now and in countries with very low rates of infection, production of some films has already started. There are some production companies that are using unorthodox measures for releasing films during these times.

For example, Universal’s “Trolls World Tour” has been released exclusively on digital rental instead of in theatres. It earned more than 100 million dollars in the first three weeks and this makes Universal decide that in the future it will simultaneously release its movies at cinemas and on digital rental. This causes a sort of tension between Universal and film theatre chains and some theatres decided not to release Universal films if this will be the case.

It has also been heard that a popular film festival has been canceled because Amazon Prime paid the filmmakers and decided to host some films that played there.

How box office has been affected by these changes?

As per record in early March 2020, the global box office has lost 5 billion as a result of the pandemic. Countries that are mostly affected by the covid 19 pandemics have either closed or restricted cinemas and movie theatres. Due to the pandemic situation in China, more than 70 thousand theatres were closed down in January 2020, and in Italy as per the guideline of the Government cinema halls were closed for more than 2 months at the beginning of 2020. In France, cinemas are operating at half capacity still now.

Because of the closing of theatres, the box office tracking estimated a 94% drop for the weekend of March 2020 in comparison to the same period the previous year. In Italy the box office losses for January 2020 are around 75%, it is 60% in South Korea, and 35% in Hong Kong.

Theatrical Releases:-

Many theatrical releases were canceled during the outbreak of the pandemic and were sent to streaming platforms. Last year the Chinese blockbuster Lost in Russia had a streaming platform release after canceling its theatrical release. It received a good amount of response and in the first three days only it was streamed by 180 million accounts. Films that were announced to be released at the beginning of February 2020 in America, in China were officially canceled.

The James Bond film “No time to die” was announced for a wide release in April 2020. But due to the worse pandemic situation at the beginning of the last year, it was postponed to November 2020 and then to April 2021, almost one year later. Another film Peter Rabbit II: The Runaway was scheduled to be released in late March 2020 but due to the sudden outbreak of the pandemic, it was postponed to early August, then December, and finally released on January 15, 2021.

As vaccination is going on in full swing, in the United States the Paramount Pictures postponed and finally canceled the release of Clifford The Big Red Dog. Sony Pictures also delayed the release of Venom: Let there be carnage.

Final Thoughts:-

As the number of film releases is decreasing during the pandemic, there is no doubt that it is affecting movie theatres financially and production houses are now inventing new ways for getting more revenue by entering video entertainment into homes. This leads to the emergence of premium VOD {PVOD}. This shortened the theatre window which will allow watching films at home video viewing at a premium cost. Some production houses also decided to make a film available in theatres and in-home viewing simultaneously.

Many movies in 2020 dropped as the production houses moved release dates to 2021 and beyond. As per the report, there were only 338 theatrically released movies in 2020 which is a decline of 66% in comparison to 987 movies in 2019.