Quarantine season has proved to be a trying time for everyone, and with movie theaters slowly attempting to reopen, the movie industry has a long way to go to recover. Productions of numerous films like “Mission Impossible 7,” “Avatar 2,” and “Jurassic World 3,” and television shows like “The Witcher” and “Stranger Things” have been halted. With no new movies being worked on, and theaters closed, countless movies like “Mulan,” “Black Widow” and “A Quiet Place II” have had their release dates delayed. In a last-ditch effort to break even, some movies have even bypassed theaters entirely for streaming releases. The looming question in every moviegoer’s mind can be only one thing: was quarantine the final nail in the coffin for movie theaters all across the country?
Even without the pandemic, most films that enticed mundane moviegoers were big budget superhero movies, remakes, sequels, and franchise properties. 2019 proved this with the top five highest grossing movies being “Avengers: Endgame,” “The Lion King,” “Frozen II,” “Spider-man: Far From Home” and “Captain Marvel.” Overshadowed by these, were the Oscar contenders, and smaller budget films which eventually found their way onto streaming services, like “Marriage Story,” “The Two Popes” and “The Irishman.”
But movies like these have already been coming out on streaming services for a few years now, and the argument can be made that if they are more successful on streaming services, why not bypass theaters entirely? That is the major question production companies asked even before the pandemic. Now with the release of “The Lovebirds,” “Scoob!,” “The Way Back” and the surprise hit “Trolls World Tour,” streaming has become an easier option for many companies, but with repercussions on movie theaters that will be felt for years to come. “Trolls World Tour” managed to make a decent profit, and this is definitely worrisome.
With the production of new movies and TV shows halted, and most filmed material being sent straight to streaming, the theater experience will have to be different when ‘the new normal’ is over. The likely outcome is that people will flock to cinemas once things have resumed normal operation (whenever that may be), and that big budget blockbusters will continue to draw in crowds, while lower budget original projects will continue to be found on streaming services. Someday, movie theaters will become obsolete, but for now, there’s nothing to do but wait and watch, and hope that they will reopen successfully one day.