By L. Thompson
The pandemic has had a significant impact on the entertainment industry and on motion picture productions. Most of the blockbusters which were put forward this year are on hold. Blockbusters are films with huge budgets (over $100 million) and well-known stars. They are likely to be successful and to do well in the box office, linking to the origin of the term 'blockbuster,' as such a bomb could destroy an entire city block. For example, the new James Bond film 'No Time to Die' has been delayed twice, 'Top Gun: Maverick' and 'Black Widow' have been adjourned a whole year, and the long awaited 'Batman' will only be in theatres in 2022.
These postponed releases put cinemas existence at risk, as they are not generating any box office profit. "The studios haven't wanted to sacrifice any potential billion-dollar movie during the pandemic," justifies Finn Halligan, Screen International's chief film critic, "They're too much of a valuable commodity." However, the longer cinemas continue closed, the tougher said decisions become. The Hollywood Reporter states that 'No Time to Die' is costing the film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer $1m interest every month. That money, which was borrowed to produce the picture, cannot be earned back until it is released in theatres.
In 2019, nine movies made over $1 billion at the worldwide box office, including 'The Lion King,' 'Joker,' 'Avengers: Endgame' and 'Captain Marvel.' Now during 2020, Christopher Nolan's new action movie 'Tenet,' produced with a budget of $205 million was the only high budget film to be showcased in cinemas, grossing about $350m.
Heretofore, Hollywood has been refusing to showcase its biggest films in places where cinemas have reopened, such as Asia, Australia and New Zealand, due to piracy fears. "2020 is the year that China, not the US, became the world's biggest movie market," Asian film critic Stevie Wong states, "It's surpassed $1.9 billion this year." Furthermore, Steven Gaydos, the executive editor of Variety Magazine says, "Hollywood has historically relied on the rest of the world for about 65% of its movie profits. If Asia has a self-sufficient movie industry, they're saying that they don't need Hollywood films - that's a huge blow to the accepted wisdom." However, he then adds, "The blockbuster is going nowhere. Hollywood makes almost nothing else apart from them - they account for 95% of the box office. These film studios that make them have bet their own future on their continued success."
We can only wait and see what COVID-19 has in store for cinemas, the box office, and the entertainment industry as a whole. Will Hollywood survive this pandemic and how will they cope in the future?