Culture Crash: Hollywood Hitting Pause On Business

Culture Crash: Hollywood Hitting Pause on Business

With no theaters open, studios have scrambled to figure out how to monetize movies that will seem like old news by the time this virus blows over. Universal made its new releases The Invisible Man, Emma and The Hunt available for $20 rental fees. WB rushed The Way Back and Birds of Prey to digital services for $20 purchases and Disney similarly put Pixar’s Onward on sale for $20 digitally.”

Culture Crash: Hollywood Hitting Pause on Business


While it is far from the most important thing happening as a result of COVID-19, the viral pandemic has forced the entertainment industry to adjust on the fly.

Musicians and comedians have had to cancel countless shows, halting revenue from ticket sales. Venues themselves have shuttered, leaving employees without work. Television and movie production crews have similarly been thrown into a world where every single project is on pause, and those movies that have been completed don’t have anywhere to premiere or fill seats.

As a result, a slew of movies have pushed their release dates. Wonder Woman 1984 has been shifted to an August release. In the Heights’ release has been suspended indefinitely. Other blockbusters like Mulan, Black Widow, and Minions: The Rise of Gru, as well as smaller indie movies like A24’s horror movie, Saint Maud, have all been pushed on the calendar.

Meanwhile, movies that already were in theaters were thrown into a different kind of limbo. With no theaters open, studios have scrambled to figure out how to monetize movies that will seem like old news by the time this virus blows over. Universal made its new releases The Invisible Man, Emma and The Hunt available for $20 rental fees. WB rushed The Way Back and Birds of Prey to digital services for $20 purchases and Disney similarly put Pixar’s Onward on sale for $20 digitally, and put Frozen on its Disney+ streaming service.

Of course, we have no idea the impact these offerings will have on audiences. When COVID-19 is finally conquered, will the theater-going experience be the same as it was just a few weeks ago? Will digital offerings earlier in a movie’s release become more of a norm? What does this mean for the financial viability for major theater chains, like Regal or AMC, and, more near and dear to many cinephiles, what does this mean for independent movie theaters, which have never been in greater danger of going extinct?

Again, we don’t yet know the answers to these questions, just like we don’t know so many things when it comes to anticipating the ripple effects of COVID-19. I do know that I, for one, can’t wait until I can opt to see movies in theaters once again but in the meantime, plenty of titles are now available on the digital platform of your choice.

I’m Evan Rook.