The Downfall of Hollywood: What does this mean for the future of movies?


Emanuela Ester-Lee

Hollywood. The place where people go to follow their dreams Some may prosper but for others, they may never achieve that level of stardom they desired. But in the waking months since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Hollywood has seen a postponement and cancellation of in-the-works projects. Including some of the most anticipated films that were set to premiere in mid-2020, including Marvel’s Black Widow, and the ever-growing Fast and Furious franchises’ latest addition F9. This global industry has amassed a whopping $136 billion in value, and is very dependent on international box office grossings. Due to this, many films have delayed release dates until people are allowed to gather indoors again in cinemas. Hollywood has been on a spree transforming current tv shows or movies to be adaptive to the time we now live in, one set in the age of the coronavirus epidemic.

The coronavirus has sent Hollywood into an unprecedented crisis, and there is no guarantee that they will recover after this major roadblock. The brutal aftermath of COVID has left Hollywood in shambles and desperately trying to piece together what is left of the industry. From mid-march until now, the deaths and cases continue to grow, unfortunately, as the industry continues to lose millions, even billions, of U.S. dollars. Since the first reports of the virus began emerging, the economic status of the industry has seen drastic changes. Disney shares have collapsed nearly 23%, while other networks like ViacomCBS have dropped over 51% and remain unstable. In a time when the majority of people tend to avoid large gatherings such as theaters, concerts, and multiplexes, streaming platforms grew in popularity. In fact, since the start of the pandemic Netflix’s shares are up 12.5% and continue to skyrocket. However, many other services have not seen as dramatic growth as Netflix- It’s actually quite the opposite.

“The worry is that things may never go back to normal.” A recurring thought daunting many people in the industry and art of filmmaking. The future that Hollywood feared greatly is on the rise and happening right now. How does one of the most powerful and highest-grossing industries in the world bounce back and adjust to threats plaguing the epicenter of the billion-dollar entertainment industry? That's the billion-dollar question. Well, according to the way Hollywood has been handling it, you simply adjust to giving the people what they want but in the way they want it. And that's when Netflix comes in handy. Thus the introduction of the digital revolution, in which Hollywood has found a way to keep making content through platforms like zoom, facetime, google meet, etc. They have managed to keep up with the times by creating content that is relatable to the majority of people all over the world. The response to this has been positive, but the real question is whether or not the satisfaction will last. Besides, this form of entertainment is much safer, as it conforms to COVID-19 precautions and does not put anyone at major risk. Alternatively, many productions have chosen not to take this route. It’s safe to say that in any age and environment filmmaking is an incredibly labor-intensive process that requires the help of many professionals from actors and directors, makeup artists, and extras.

Next, let's take a look at the next route Hollywood's infamous entertainment industry is taking: continuing filming during the coronavirus pandemic, but filming in remote and isolated locations as we have seen a glimpse of in upcoming films like Olivia Wilde’s second directorial debut “Don’t Worry Darling,” Anne Hathaway's “Locked Down,” and many more upcoming movies and tv shows. Ultimately, this shows us that Hollywood can't afford to lose millions and even billions of dollars due to any setbacks that may arise— and no matter what the cost, they are determined to continue working despite the risk. But there comes a time when one must levy between what they want versus what it will cost to get there. The persisting question remains, “When will everything go back to normal?” The truthful answer is no one knows. Hollywood and the rest of the world are on their tippy-toes eagerly awaiting the return of some type of normalcy.

Can there be a fairytale ending for Hollywood? Possibly, but the future is uncertain. The impact of the coronavirus not only on Hollywood but in this line of the industry worldwide has been severe as the markets continue to lose millions in funds due to halting production, theater closures, and ensuring the safety of cast and crew members. Hollywood's new expensive and troubling road to making content during the covid pandemic shows just how quickly the transformation in production, distribution, and consumption is happening. In an industry that is so desperately dependent on public gatherings, teamwork, and routine traveling, this is the worst possible scenario to be faced with. Many consider Hollywood and their entertainment industry a business transaction, a simple done-and-done deal, and they are not wrong. But when your business is sinking and the demand for better and newer content grows, perhaps risking exposure to a deadly disease is worth it. Or is it? There is no doubt that when Hollywood does reopen, a plethora of actors, directors, writers, etc. will race to get their delayed projects up-and-running first. In short, the disruption of the industry over one year will have long-lasting effects on both releases set for 2021-2022 and consumption.