What’s the fate of the film industry?

Nathan Turoff, Government Reporter

Movie theaters? Can you even remember the last time you went to one? While the amount of human life tragically lost in this pandemic is 936,313 as of writing, the filmmaking industry has also been one of COVID-19’s victims. 

UNF film professor Jeffrey Smith said that the part of the movie business affected the most would be distribution, or how the finished films are sent to theaters and shown to audiences. This is because of closed theaters and stay-at-home orders. He elaborated how it’s a very thin line to walk for distributors, who need to decide whether or not to release films in restricted theaters, like Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet”, push them back, or release them through streaming.

Tenet (2020)

He explained that, while pushing films’ releases back can often give the most financial profit, there’s a hiccup to this. It’s a double-edged sword, as the longer the film goes without being released, the less anticipation it gets, which can have a great impact on box-office numbers. 

One solution Professor Smith suggested was that theaters could create their own streaming services. The one form of movie-watching he has seen grow in popularity is the drive-in movie, which allows for easy and effective practicing of social distancing, while also having a sort of nostalgic appeal.

As for streaming itself, Smith was adamant that so many streaming services and options have been good in this pandemic. While streaming was on the rise before the pandemic, the lockdowns further exacerbated this pattern. He is grateful for streaming, for he is certain that without it, the movie industry would have already collapsed.

But about Hollywood, and the actual production of movies, Professor Smith is confident that it will bounce back. “Since the 1920s, Hollywood has continuously evolved to meet the supply and demand of the consuming public so that it has now become a multibillion-dollar industry. Although it has been dealt a heavy blow by the current global pandemic, it will most certainly recover.”