COVID has had a massive impact on the movie theater industry. Across the world, movie theater and cinemas are closed, and even those few that have reopened are struggling to attract customers and are operating at a reduced social distancing capacity. Going to the movies in the middle of a global pandemic seems like an unnecessary risk to health, and wisely, many movie fans are just unwilling to put themselves at risk.
The Cost of COVID
COVID has cost the movie industry billions of dollars from lost box office takings worldwide. In addition, the usual publicity events such as film festivals and award ceremonies have been cancelled, making the excitement of new releases a thing of the past. Instead, the movie theatre industry has predominantly switched to releasing movies via streaming.
Streaming the latest new movie is convenient, but watching the latest release in your own home does not offer the same experience of a first night event in your local movie theater. It negatively impacts takings too.
The cost of streaming a new release is much cheaper to the customer than attending the movie theatre in person, and of course your local cinema will be losing revenue from ticket sales, popcorn, and everything else that goes with a visit to the movies.
Movie production has also been impacted by COVID. Many productions have been shut down or put on hold until the situation improves. Movies such as Mission: Impossible 7 for example have been put on hold. This was being filmed in Venice, Italy, but was abandoned after some of the crew contracted COVID and everyone was sent home to quarantine, leaving the sets behind.
The financial future of the movie theater industry is uncertain. There was already a move away from traditional movie theatres to online streaming, and it appears that COVID has accelerated this. This leaves the online streaming companies such as Netflix and Amazon in a powerful position. If the content creators move to the digital format it could mark the end of the movie theater industry as we know it.
There will still be an increasing amount of movies available. But it seems likely that the financial impact on the traditional movie making companies and the movie theatre industry as a whole will never fully recover from the COVID pandemic.
This means that COVID has not only changed the whole movie making industry; it could be the end for the movie theater industry as we know it.