Hollywood vs. COVID-19: Who will win?

2020 has been, let’s be honest, a rather bad year for everyone. Our everyday routine has been impacted by a force that continues to wreak havoc in our lives. The hospitality, tourist and sports industries have all suffered heavy losses and cinema, my one motivation in life, has taken a big hit too. After months of lockdown, cinemas have mostly reopened with brand new COVID-19 safety measures worldwide yet the state of the industry leaves many in fear. 

Blockbusters, the  lifeblood of modern film, have mostly disappeared from our screens. Some films, such as Fast & Furious 9, have taken a lot of precautions and delayed their release by an entire year, hopefully returning in a more normal environment. Moviegoers are now left with indie films that, despite being amazing, don’t attract enough casual moviegoers who are more easily swayed by bigger budget films. 

Most, if not all, blockbusters have been delayed: Wonder Woman 1984 has been moved three times already, Black Widow has been postponed to December and while 007’s next adventure, No Time to Die, is still scheduled to come out globally in November, it is likely that its release date will be pushed back once more. Despite the crisis, some big releases happened in August- most notably Christopher Nolan’s Tenet (go watch it!), which was seen by many as the saviour of the film industry. Grossing over 251M worldwide, the sci-fi thriller made a small yet impressive performance, proving that the right movies might bring people back into cinemas. 

Hollywood’s other shining star, the award ceremonies, have also been impacted by COVID. The Emmy Awards, recognising talent in television making, were hosted in the most unusual way: winners were given their trophies at home by men in hazmat suits while host Jimmy Kimmel cracked jokes in front of an empty theatre, using past footage to mimic laughter in the crowd. Should we expect the 2021 Academy Awards to be hosted on Zoom? Will Spike Lee accept an award for Best Director in his living room? The future sure is uncertain for Hollywood… 

What remains obvious is that the cinema industry, just like any recovering industry, needs your help. While Netflix thrives by your incapacity to leave the house, your local cinema probably suffers. If they have reopened their doors and follow COVID-19 guidelines, I can only urge you to return there ASAP. There are plenty of great movies to be watched and people who depend on them to survive. If we must preserve one thing during this pandemic, it’s the arts. 

Elie Breton des Loÿs

Elie is Bath Time's 2021/22 Editor-in-Chief (Online). He was previously the Lifestyle Editor for 2019/20 and is still our resident cinema-goer, best known for witty and informative film reviews.

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