Movies in the Time of Corona

Movies in the Time of Corona, coronavirus statistics

The entertainment industry is one of the big losers in the coronavirus crisis. The pandemic has also turned many things upside down in Hollywood. A balance sheet for the film year 2020.

Working in a film may have sounded adventurous, glamorous so far - but essential? "We are now an essential workforce," says Alma Diffie. "And that means most of them are working in Hollywood now."

Diffie is a makeup artist - and one of the thousands of workers classified as important, essential workers in California since November. The new status makes it easier for productions to organize shoots. Because actually larger gatherings of people, especially in Los Angeles, should be prevented.

The dream factory has been working again since late summer - under the strictest conditions. It is compulsory to wear a mask; tests are carried out regularly. All laboratories have been set up in the parking lots of the Hollywood studios to get operations running again.

Tom Cruise Shooting Mission Impossible

Tom Cruise loses his composure

How tense the situation becomes clear when you hear Hollywood star Tom Cruise yelling at an employee on the film set for the sequel to "Mission Impossible" due to violation of the coronavirus protocols as reported by Variety.

The British newspaper "The Sun" published the sound recording of the breakout. Tom Cruise accuses the film projects of people who have to pay off houses. And he has to justify himself to producers and insurance companies.

Billions in losses

The US film world is expected to lose at least 20 billion US dollars due to the coronavirus crisis. Not least because many blockbusters in 2020 never saw the light of day.

One of the first big films to be hit by the coronavirus, so to speak, was the new James Bond film "No Time to Die." At first, Studio Universal was optimistic that the launch could be postponed from spring to fall 2020. The new start date is now April 2021. 

Threat to cinemas

The cinemas themselves are one of the big losers of the 2020 cinema year. They had to close in many places, in the film city of Los Angeles they have been closed since March - and at high costs, as the film journalist, John Horn of the NPR radio network says.

 "They have rents, very high fixed costs, billions in debt, and no money that comes in," says Horn. "How do you pay for that? I think there will be massive closings." 

Risk of mass bankruptcies

AMC, the world's largest cinema chain, has already announced that it is facing bankruptcy. The United States' Association of Cinema Operators warned that 70 percent of small to medium-sized operators could go bankrupt without help from the state.

And then came a message that shook the industry to its very foundations: The Warner Bros. studio wants to release at least 17 films simultaneously in the cinema and on its own streaming platform HBO Max in 2021. Including blockbusters like the science fiction film "Dune" or the comic adaptation "Suicide Squad."

The rule that is decades old no longer applies

The normal rule is that cinemas have the exclusive right to show films for at least a few weeks before the studios sell them on other platforms. A decades-old rule - which is suddenly lifted. This is an earthquake of magnitude eight in the industry, says film journalist Horn.

A year ago, the cinemas would have blocked such a step and boycotted Warner Bros. films, but their role is weakened - and it is your own fault, says John Horn.

The cinemas would have "found it difficult to adapt to change. They were late in buying digital projectors, offering 3D. They were always one step back," said the Hollywood expert. The industry "decided that streaming is the enemy and no partnership possible."

Lots of great films for spring?

The film year 2021 will be different. Because many films have been postponed, cinema fans could count on a rich selection from spring or mid-2021. For example the Marvel film "Black Widow" with Scarlett Johansson, a sequel to "Top Gun" with Tom Cruise. 

This year Hollywood has changed, and it cannot reverse the coronavirus synopsis overnight. But it is not yet clear when normality will return when one works without a mask, gloves, and protective goggles. In any case, Hollywood will create certain works to be continued.