COVID-19 pandemic causes changes in entertainment industry

Ben Laham, Staff Writer

Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc globally, causing many businesses to close, school systems to completely change, sports to be completely altered and politics to be left in shambles and insecurity. However, one of the industries that has been affected most is cinema. Seeing as theaters are areas where many people are jammed together at close proximity to each other, it was absolutely necessary that they close to ensure public safety. This led to a dramatic increase in the use of streaming services, such as Disney +, Hulu and HBO Max, to the point where movies are beginning to be released directly to streaming services. 

Financially speaking, the pandemic has done wonders for the companies and corporations who own the streaming services, but the opposite for the cinema industry. Two major corporations, Warner Bros and AMC in particular are suffering. Warner Bros stated on October 5th of 2020 that they were going to struggle to break even on one of their $400 million budget films, and AMC theaters stated they would potentially need to find alternate sources of cash. Smaller cinemas have also been affected financially; “The industry is kind of in chaos,” Albert Waitt stated, director of operations at Smitty’s Cinema, a regional theater chain based out of Maine. Cinema has been affected drastically by this pandemic and it is likely it will take quite a while for it to recover. 

Another facet of entertainment that has been affected by COVID-19 is theater entertainment. Ever since March 12th of 2020, Broadway has been closed to in person visitors, and in the following months had to make serious adjustments, even cancelling some shows, such as Frozen, and not resuming performances of previewed shows, such as Hangmen and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf? However, they have not been sitting idly by, as some shows, such as Hamilton, have moved to streaming services. While this is not a very lucrative alternative, temporarily speaking, it will hopefully suffice. Furthermore, theater has been severely affected at the high school and college levels. 

Overall, entertainment has suffered greatly over this past year in multiple facets and while it has adapted to the circumstances, it will take quite a while for it to return to the state in which it once was.