The Coronavirus pandemic is dominating the news in a way few of us will have ever experienced, affecting so many aspects of everyday life. Against the Coronavirus backdrop movies are, needless to say, insignificant.

But, this is a movie column! So, today we’ll take a look at the impact of Coronavirus on movies, and how it is changing everything from releases to box office figures.

Coronavirus: Delayed Movie Releases

With global cinema audiences potentially reduced by quarantines and lockdowns, studios have begun to announce postponements of forthcoming releases.

  • The long-awaited James Bond instalment No Time To Die was due in early April but has now been put back until November.
  • Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway had a release date to coincide with Easter but is now scheduled for August.
  • A Quiet Place II was coming this week until director John Krasinski announced on his Instagram page that it was delayed indefinitely. He posted “I’m gonna wait to release the movie ‘til we CAN all see it together!”
  • Disney has called off the release of three upcoming films, its big remake Mulan, The New Mutants (delayed yet again) and horror movie Antlers.
  • Fast and Furious 9, which was due in May, has been pushed all the way back to April 2021.
  • The MCU’s Black Widow, also due in May, is postponed to an unspecified future date.

Production Stopped by Coronavirus

Coronavirus is also impacting plenty of production schedules. 

Whether it’s cast and crew testing positive or isolating, restrictions due to travel limitations, or indeed countries not allowing filming because they’re on lockdown, the impact is likely to last for weeks.

Amongst those movies that were either currently or about to start filming and have been suspended are The Little Mermaid, Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend Of Ten Rings, Jurassic World Dominion, The Batman and Mission Impossible 7.

Box Office Impact of Coronavirus

The box office will certainly suffer as a consequence of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Cinemas in some countries are closed as part of lockdowns. Where they are still open it’s likely numbers would be down anyway, with people self-isolating or just reluctant to gather at large events. But if studios continue to pull releases, what audience there is will soon have very limited viewing options. 

Things are moving very fast. On Sunday I had an email from Odeon saying that they had increased cleaning procedures in place, and there may be limitations on screening sizes, but they were open as normal. Then on Monday, the UK government suggested that people should avoid pubs, clubs and theatres. Presumably cinema would fall into a similar category. Cue confusion as the instructions seemed unclear. This morning (17th) Odeon has tweeted that their cinemas will be closed until further notice. Cineworld soon followed suit.

Will Coronavirus Impact Streaming?

It seems clear that a lot of people all around the world are going to have more time on their hands. 

If people are forced to stay at home for whatever reason, whether it’s self-isolating, work/school is shut, or just events they’d normally be at have been cancelled, then streaming services will likely be one of the big beneficiaries. 

Subscribers have a myriad of film and television options at their fingertips and the likes of Amazon Prime and Netflix will surely see increased usage. Here in the UK, those viewing choices are about to expand greatly as we are only a week or so away from the launch of Disney+ which will give people a giant library of movies and television shows.

In a further development, Universal Studios announced that some of its releases, including some currently in cinemas (The Invisible Man, The Hunt) and some upcoming (Trolls World Tour) would be available on multiple streaming platforms. Seems like at a slightly higher price than a cinema ticket but it’s a dramatic change to how consumers view new content that could have long-lasting effects.

Filling the Void

One of the more positive side effects I’ve seen on social media from those people stuck at home is using it as an opportunity to catch up with things that they have missed. Using their lockdown as a chance to binge-watch that TV show everyone raves about, but they never got around to. Taking the time to explore a favourite actor or director’s back catalogue. There are plenty of lists out there to use as inspiration. For example, it could be an opportunity to work through Empires Top 500 Greatest Movies of All Time, the IMDB Top 250 or, shameless plug alert, our own Films Of The Decade. 

Stay safe people.

 

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