At the beginning of 2020, the pandemic of the coronavirus COVID-19 hit humanity. At the time of writing, the number of cases exceeded 150,000, and about six thousand died from the disease. Pandemic disrupted the usual way of life. Millions of people have been quarantined, classes at schools and universities are being massively canceled, some countries are leaving for complete self-isolation from the rest of the world. The demand for oil is falling, the tourism market is almost destroyed. All major sporting events are either canceled or rescheduled for the next few months – sports media will now have a hard time.
The huge effect of the pandemic is felt in the entertainment industry. And this is worth telling in more detail.
Concerts, festivals and other events are being canceled around the world, amusement parks, museums, theaters and cinemas are being closed. Film studios postpone the premieres, cancel or freeze filmings and withdraw the film crews from areas affected by the coronavirus. Securities of entertainment corporations are also sinking: Disney shares have fallen 23% since the beginning of the year, and ViacomCBS shares have lost in value even more than 50%.
“This pandemic will affect most sectors of the global economy, but the entertainment industry will have the hardest time,” says producer Hal Vogel. – People are scared, and they are unlikely to want to spend time in a crowded movie theater. What concerns me the most is the question to which I have no answer: how long will this situation last and will it not get worse? ”
Film studios began to postpone, or even completely postpone, the next premieres for fall or next year, freeze filming, or even dismiss film crews. Many filmmakers risk losing their income: not all studios are willing to pay for a downtime. Even the creators of those series, the filming of which has not yet been suspended, received recommendations to refrain from scenes where a lot of people are involved. Overnight, most of the extras actors were left without work.
People who were supposed to serve the canceled events also lose their jobs. So, the organizers of the canceled SXSW festival in Austin have already reduced about a third of the employees previously hired to serve it. The cancellation of festivals leads to other problems, because every film festival, for example, is not only an opportunity to arrange a prestigious premiere screening, but also a place where you can find the right distributor, producer or agent.
In addition, each such festival is an important source of money for both city budgets and small businesses. These are streams of tourists, ordinary spectators and industry professionals who occupy all hotel rooms, all places in restaurants and cafes and sit in bars and nightclubs until morning. Now the money of all these visiting guests will settle somewhere else.
“In the current situation, local bartenders and waiters have lost the most,” said Hamid Bigiri, managing director of the Belmont exhibition hall in Austin.
The coronavirus has so far affected the film industry in two ways. Due to the closure of cinemas in a number of countries (including China, which is extremely important for distributors), studios are postponing their premieres to a later date. And because of the threat of infection or prohibitions on mass gatherings of people, surveys taking place in regions hit by the virus (most recently, everywhere) are frozen.
- Studio Warner Bros. froze for two weeks the shooting of the new “Batman“.
- Paramount Pictures Studio indefinitely postponed the premiere of “Quiet place 2” and comedy “Lovers” and at the end of February suspended the shooting of the new part in Venice of “mission Impossible“. Since the peak of the epidemic in Italy is still not passed, there is no timeline for resuming filming. However, the time before the premiere scheduled for July 2021 is still in bulk.
- MGM and Universal Studios Postponed the Premiere of the New James Bond Film “No time to die” from April 8 to November 25.
- Universal also already for the whole year, from May 22 to April 2, 2021, postponed the premiere of the ninth “Afterburner” and froze the shooting of several scenes including the third part of “Jurassic World“.
- Disney indefinitely postpones the premiere of “Mulan” and “New mutants“. For “Mutants” this is the fourth transfer – the film can not be released since April 2018. The detective horror film “Antlers.” also lost the release date and Disney suspended work on “Little mermaid” , “Peter Pan and Wendy“, “Alley of Nightmares“, The sequel to “Honey I shrunk the kids” and a remake of “Home Alone“. Work on the historical drama “Last duel“, which Ridley Scott is filming in Ireland was suspended for an indefinite period of time.
- In addition, Marvel Studios temporarily suspended filming of “Shang Chi” because director decided to self-isolate for a couple of weeks. The studio emphasizes that Kretton does not have a coronavirus – the director just decided to play it safe after his wife gave birth. The second crew is shooting on schedule.
- And finally, Sony studio from April to August postponed the premiere of the film “Peter Rabbit 2“.
Judging by insider comments, every day the idle time of filming for “The Little Mermaid” and “Shang Chi” costs 300-350 thousand dollars. Disney continues to pay actors and members of the crew so that they do not scatter over other projects, and it is not yet clear whether at least part of this amount will be covered by insurance.
But this is a penny in comparison with what the studios lose due to the postponement of the premieres at a later date, because in fact, all the advertising campaigns of such films are wasted. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the transfer of the new Bond will cost the studio $ 30-50 million, and the creators of “Quiet Place” lost from 10 to 30 million. Money spent on advertising during the Super Bowl break.
However, the studios take this step, because otherwise the losses will be even greater. To date, cinemas in China, Italy, France, Spain, the Czech Republic, Japan and several other countries are closed. According to THR estimates, if all the postponed releases took place on schedule, the studios would have missed out on much larger amounts – up to $ 300 million per release.
In total, Hollywood has already lost $ 7 billion due to the coronavirus, and if the situation does not get better by May, the amount of losses will increase to 17 billion.
Series also have to cancel filming:
- HBO has stopped the production of the second season of the comedy “Righteous Gemstones“And postponed the start of filming the of Euphoria’s second season.
- TNT stopped filming the series “Snowpiercer” and the fourth season of drama Claws.
- FX temporarily closed filming for the third season of Atlanta fourth seasons of Fargo and “Snowfall” and the first season of the new show “Y: The last man.
- CBS froze production for “Young Sheldon“, legal drama “Everybody get up” sitcom “Bob loves Abishola” and the comedy drama “God freaked me out“.
- CW “pending further notice” suspended work on “Flash” , “Supergirl” and “Batwoman” and quarantined the film crew of “Riverdale” after one of its members made contact with a coronavirus carrier. In addition, the channel curtailed the Supernatural platform less than two weeks before the shooting. But there they are filming the epic finale of the 15-year-old series now!
- NBCUniversal froze the production of almost all of its series – the film crew of 35 shows, including “Law & Order: Special Corps” , “New Amsterdam” , “FBI” and the entire line of “Chicago” : ” Chicago on Fire” , ” Chicago Police” and “Chicago Doctors.”
- ABC suspended filming for the sixteenth season of “Anatomy of passion” for two weeks.
- Amazon sent to a large crew of 800 people a memorandum to suspend filming of an unnamed project for at least two weeks. Apparently, we are talking about the series on “The Lord of the Rings.”
The Hollywood Reporter emphasizes that the channels are still lucky. If the coronavirus pandemic had overtaken the United States a month earlier, there would have been much more TV shows that came to a halt. By mid-March, work on most of the shows has already been completed, and a two-week delay will not greatly affect the production process.
But if after two weeks the work does not resume, the series will face another misfortune: May 1 ends the current term of the agreement of the Screenwriters Guild with the studio management. If the current disagreements are not resolved by then, a new strike awaits. According to rumors, a number of series began to stock up on scenarios for the future even before the outbreak.
At first glance, Netflix and other streaming services like Disney +, Hulu and Apple TV + from the situation with mass cancellations of events and forced quarantine will only benefit. People will start to sit more at home, and, accordingly, they will have more time for reading, video games and watching TV shows. Indeed, the shares of most of the largest American companies since the beginning of the year fell by an average of 10.8%, while Netflix shares for the same period, on the contrary, grew by 12.5%, which shows the faith of the market in the ability of the streaming giant.
But in fact, the benefits of Netflix are far from obvious. In the long run, the coronavirus epidemic is just as disastrous for the streaming service market as it is for everyone else.
First, the revenue of Netflix and other services depends on the number of subscriptions, not views. You watched one episode in a month or twenty-one, you still pay the same fixed amount for access to the service and not a cent more. And the number of subscriptions in a global pandemic could be reduced. There is a real war in the US in the streaming services market, and Netflix has enough competitors to recapture the giant’s audience at the expense of lower subscription costs. If your Netflix subscription ranges from $ 9 to $ 16 per month, you can sign up for half the price of Disney +, Apple TV +, Hulu, and CBS All Access. Even before the pandemic, experts believed that by the end of the year, Netflix could lose up to four million of its 61 million US subscribers.
Outside the US, the situation is even worse. The crisis is having a severe impact on the economies of European and Asian countries, especially tourism industries. People who have lost their income will start saving, and subscribing to Netflix is not one of the basic needs.
In addition, the pandemic will affect the timing of the emergence of new content. Like everyone else, Netflix froze the production of all its films and TV shows starring in the United States and Canada for two weeks, and perhaps this period will be extended. Paused at least “Stranger things” , “Midnight mass” , “High school graduation” and “Grace and Frankie“. Other streaming services are also making changes to their schedule: Apple has frozen for at least two weeks filming an adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s novel “Academy” and new seasons of “Morning show“,”House with a maid” , “See” , “For the sake of all mankind” , “Mythical quest” and “Lizzie’s stories“. Disney suspended production for “Falcon and Winter Soldier” , “Loki” and “WandaVision“. Amazon stopped work on” The wheel of time” and the second season of “Carnival Row“.
At the same time, Netflix, unlike its competitors, also lives on credit. The company spends more on the production of content than it earns, and constantly attracts new funds by placing “junk bonds” – high-yield bonds with a low credit rating. As of September 2019, Netflix debts were estimated at $ 12.43 billion, and a loss for 2020 was supposed to be around 3 billion. Now this amount may increase, and junk bonds during the crisis are among the first to lose in value.
TV shows are TV shows, but quarantine has dealt even more severe blows to offline events.
- Video Game Developers Conference Gdc moved to the summer.
- TwitchCon, which was supposed to be held from May 2 to 3 in Amsterdam, was canceled and promised to return the ticket prices.
- The authorities of Austin, Texas, canceled the conference South by Southwest (SXSW), dedicated to technology, education, music and video games. Last year, the conference brought the city a budget of $ 350 million.
- The presentation of iPhone SE2 was postponed indefinitely. The presentation date has not yet been announced, but according to media reports, it was supposed to be held on March 31.
- E3 Video Game Shows in 2020 will not take place. They were supposed to be in Los Angeles from June 9 to 11. This is one of the main annual events of the gaming industry, a lot of deals are made at the conference, it is there that they usually announce new games, consoles and equipment.
- On the same day, due to the threat of coronavirus, a conference on doing business in a coronavirus epidemic was also cancelled.
- Roscosmos and the European Space Agency decided to postpone the launch of the second research probe, scheduled for July this year, as part of the mission “ExoMars“. There is a suspicion that coronavirus has become only a convenient pretext for transfer, and the true reason is that Roscosmos and ESA simply do not have time to test systems and software on time.
- Film Festival Cinemacon 2020 is cancelled- A conference of representatives of the American film industry, which usually discussed the prospects of the industry and made presentations of projects. The festival was to be held from March 30 to April 2.
- Game Award Organizers BAFTA Game Awards, scheduled for April 2, announced that the ceremony will be held without a red carpet and the audience in the hall and will be broadcast online. The BAFTA Television Award Ceremony is so far unchanged.
- The organizers of the festival announced an indefinite postponement of the Tribeca film festival. It was supposed to go from April 15 to 26 in New York. Filmmakers from 33 countries, were going to take part in the festival.
- Wondercon convention is cancelled, initially scheduled in Anaheim from April 10 to 12. In addition, California Governor Gavin Newsome recommended canceling or reschedule all events with over 250 attendance. San diego comic-con is now under threat (July 23–26) as well as Star wars celebration (August 27-30).
- On the verge of closure is even the most prestigious Cannes Film Festival. Its organizers promised to announce their plans the other day.
- Disneyland parks are closed before the end of the month In California, Florida and Paris. Moreover, earlier, Disneyland in California closed just three times in its more than half a century of history: during the mourning for President John F. Kennedy in 1963, after the earthquake in Northridge in 1994 and after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack.
- A St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York will be canceled for the first time since 1762. Parades took place during the War of Independence, the Civil War, the First World War, the Spanish epidemic, the Great Depression and the Second World War. Coronavirus was the first serious adversary of the Irish saint.
But there is good news. The PornHub website opened for Italian users free access to “premium” content until April 3. Apparently, soon access to the “premium” will be provides for users from Spain and France.
The experience of China and South Korea shows that the coronavirus epidemic can be stopped, albeit at the cost of draconian restrictions on the movement of people. If Western countries follow the example of Asian countries, in a few months the coronavirus will remain only in old media reports and in cultural works. In the meantime, we all may have to quarantine a bit.