In this article, we would like to explain how Covid-19 affected the film industry and what will happen to the cinema industry.
We got used to the “new normal”, when cafes, cinemas, gyms, and other entertainment places are open in summer, sometimes in spring and autumn. But do people want to go to public places again, even if they are vaccinated and the situation with Covid-19 is getting better? The film industry is a huge value creator, and global box office revenues in 2019 were $42 billion, while in 2020 they were only $12 billion. Even before COVID-19, the film industry was experiencing significant changes, so let’s see what is happening now.
“Cinema is not only about making people dream. It's about changing things and making people think” - Nadine Labaki
We love cinemas, movies, and a unique atmosphere created there but it is already clear that not all cinemas will survive the crisis. Many of them may not open when the restrictive measures are finally lifted. Cinemas that open first during the lifting of restrictive measures are in the most challenging situation, as this is a risk group because there are no new films, the audience is afraid and stays at home, people will think twice about whether to go. Therefore, cinemas need to open when new films appear, and viewers are ready to go to mass places to reduce losses. Due to self-isolation and restriction measures, the audience of online cinemas has increased. The increase was from 30 to 50 percent, and the number of viewers is growing, as many services began to show new films online due to restrictions on visiting cinemas.
“The human face is the most important subject of the cinema” - Ingmar Bergman
The most persistent are non-art cinemas: they have their loyal audience, which is accustomed to good films on the big screen and discussion after viewing. But these cinemas can also face the problem that local people will prefer to spend their free time together, but in the park or on the terrace. Cinemas that are designed for many people - are in the most vulnerable position. Due to the lack of regular flows of viewers, so such cinemas can’t create a loyal community around them. That’s why it is important not just to open the doors, but to create the same atmosphere, and cinema halls should not be half-empty.
After all, we go to the cinema not only for the benefit of a big screen and good sound but also for the sake of collective viewing. For example, if you watch a great comedy, but no one is laughing nearby, because there are simply no people, then you begin to doubt whether it was worth coming here. The pandemic has just stimulated the integration process. Cinemas will not die, they will just change. One scenario for the development of events: they are becoming part of the global media system. For example, the same "Disney", which already has its parks, TV channels, video games, can buy several spaces to play only its films there, where they will be shown even earlier than online. You don't need to buy a ticket to the hall separately and it is already available to all subscribers.
“Cinema is not about format, and it's not about the venue. Cinema is an approach. Cinema is a state of mind on the part of the filmmaker” - Steven Soderberg
It will not be possible to quickly increase revenue, as many Hollywood studios have postponed most releases to the end of the year or even to the next year. People have now been taught to watch movies from home, and this is not bad, but now it will be more difficult to return such films back to cinemas. For example, in 2006 approximately 300 films were shown in cinemas, and now, most likely, only 40 films a year will be released, mainly action films, films with special effects, sequels, and superhero projects, because you can rely on such a movie. Unfortunately, the viewer will most likely not go to a low-budget movie without an appropriate advertising campaign. That is, there is little content, and mandatory payments will remain at the same time. To survive the crisis, the cinemas themselves will have to look for non-trivial solutions. There is still time to think about new economic models – the restrictions will be completely lifted from them only at the third, final stage of the exit from self-isolation.
Everything is transferring to the online mode, and not only the film industry will change. We will also post information about other industries on our blog, so stay in touch.