In March of 2020, the year would take an unexpected change. The COVID-19 virus broke out forcing people to quarantine and if people were to go anywhere they must wear a mask and stay six feet apart. A lot of businesses were hurt by this. And I would say the film industry along with movie theatres were one of the most hurt businesses from COVID-19.
Movie theatres were forced to shut down and that hurt not only theatre companies but also film studios. Movie theatres like AMC don’t know if they’ll be able to recover from the closings and may just go out of business. Another thing that took a toll on movie theatres are movies going to VOD so you can just buy them and watch them in the comfort of your own home. AMC now refuses to play Universal movies at their theatres after Universal broke a contract with AMC by releasing ‘Trolls World Tour’ to VOD.
Big film studios like Disney, Pixar, Warner Brothers, Blumhouse, Universal, Marvel, etc… had to completely stop production on whatever they were making at the time due to the pandemic. Film studios then also had to re arrange their schedules saving their blockbusters for when everything is normal while still releasing movies to VOD so they can still make a profit. For example, Marvel usually produces and releases 3 films a year and this year we were supposed to also get 3 marvel shows but none of that happened due to the pandemic. Marvel's first show ‘Wanda And Vision’ will be released January 15th with many many more movies and shows following to kick off the 2021 year.
Another example will be Blumhouse. Blumhouse delayed one of the most anticipated films of 2020 for horror fans, ‘Halloween Kills’. It was supposed to be released October 2020 but due to the pandemic and the director and studio being dead set on an October release date, the film will now be released in October 2021. Warner brothers have had to stop filming ‘The Batman’ about three times now. The first time was due to the initial pandemic, the second was a crew mate getting COVID-19, and the most recent time was Mr. Bruce Wayne himself Robert Pattinson getting COVID-19. It was also just recently announced all warner brother films in 2021 will be released to theatres and HBO max on the same day. That’s a huge decision that will hurt theatres a little but it is believed that many people will go to the theatre if able to.
Another film that was supposed to come out this year and now will be next year was ‘Willys Wonderland’. 'Willys Wonderland’ Is a horror film starring Nicolas Cage. I was lucky enough to be able to have a short interview with the writer and creator of the film, G.O. Parsons. When he was asked “Did covid affect the editing of willys wonderland if so how?” G.O. Parsons responded with, “Yes. It slowed it way down. Had to get notes and work had to be done one person at a time (as compared to all at once)” I also asked him, “What was the biggest challenge of making this film with the pandemic going on?” G.O. Parsons responded with, Above - But the most difficult thing is insurance for productions. “We finished before the pandemic hit with principal photography but if it had happened halfway through the movie or if Nicolas Cage had gotten sick the production would have shut down and who knows if it would have been able to recover.”
Another part of the film industry that is hurting but not as much as big studios and theatres is the short film community. Short films are usually posted to YouTube. It’s a way to express your story and be a filmmaker, and get potential job offers from your work. I was also lucky enough to be able to ask Silas Dunn a short film creator on YouTube. I asked him “During the making of your most recent short film, did covid restrictions cause any problems?” in which Silas responded with “Not really, just made sure everyone was comfortable and kept crew pretty small.”
Film productions are returning back to normal though they are using very safe precautions. They all wear masks unless they are in the scene being shot, they do best to social distance, and they get tested for COVID-19 regularly. Disney has seemed to do an amazing job at keeping its cast and crew of the upcoming Marvel movie ‘Shang-Chie And The Legend Of The Ten Rings’. It is reported that over 40,000 COVID-19 tests were done, 0 of them came back positive. By 2021 everything should hopefully be back to normal, and everything will be all good.