Will COVID-19 Crush Movie Theaters and Crash Hollywood?

Is Hollywood about to crash? Will COVID-19 not only change the way the world does business but also upend Hollywood? For the first time since 1975 Hollywood will NOT have a summer blockbuster season. With movie theaters closed down around the world, no one knows what will happen next. I mean Jaws and Jurassic Park are fighting for the number one spot at the only box-office that exists at the moment — drive-in theaters.

Are we in an alternative universe?

The eye of the storm of this crash more than likely will be movie theaters. If movie theaters do not figure a way to bring people back to the silver screen Hollywood will have a major shift in the way it does business. The stress of COVID-19 is starting to expose the weakness in the traditional Hollywood studio system. Not all the majors will be in trouble but some most definitely fall or get acquired by the cash-rich Amazon, Google, Facebook, or Apples of the world. If the film industry continues to do business in the same way they did pre-COVID-19 and thinks that the revenue streams will be the same they are terribly wrong.

People’s buying and viewing habits have changed dramatically over the last decade and due to COVID-19, I believe permanently. The public generally doesn’t buy a full album to listen to a hot single anymore instead, they stream their favorite songs on Spotify or Apple Music. Eventually, people will stop going to the movies, which have become too expensive, inconvenient, just a general hassle, and now could be deadly due to COVID-19. Instead, the movies will be delivered directly to the consumer via services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+HBO Max and Amazon. This is the Hollywood Crash.

Legendary filmmaker Steven Speilberg said

“That’s a big danger … there’s eventually going to be an implosion – or a big meltdown. There’s going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even a half-dozen megabudget movies are going to go crashing into the ground, and that’s going to change the paradigm.”

The thing Mr. Speilberg didn’t see was a pandemic that would shut down the world’s movie theaters and the revenue they brought into Hollywood. He didn’t see that even when the movie theaters come back that the box-office numbers will probably not return the same pre-COVID 19 tallies for some time if they ever come back at all. The way the public consumes its entertainment has been forever altered by the Coronavirus.

Can a movie studio really spend $20o million+ on the budget of a tentpole film and toss in another $200 million for marketing without a theatrical revenue stream? I’m not only speaking about US (domestic) theatrical, I’m talking about worldwide theatrical. COVID-19 has essentially shut down the theatrical business for Hollywood, at home and abroad.

Disney has postponed Mulan, Sony pushed the latest James Bond film No Time to Die and Warner Brothers is still figuring out when to release Wonder Woman 84 and Chris Nolan’s new epic Tenet. This is all due to COVID-19 but there are other attacks upon the Hollywood system.