Killed by “No Time to Die”. Is the Movie Industry the First Big Entertainment Sector to Collapse Under the Covid-Strain?

in LeoFinance5 months ago (edited)

Some months ago I wondered what would happen to the hospitality industry, and socializing, in the wake of SARS-COV2. While the jury is still out on the final impact on the hospitality industry, in many areas and particularly locations which require a reservation, there have been first signs that humans still love to eat out.

If the sector can continue to minimize its loss due to continued pre-Covid cut-throat rates, there is a big chance hospitality will survive and millions of jobs around the world will be preserved. Which is a big IF because so far footfall is still minimal in most places and thus turnover will stay reduced for months to come, until people start to live the Covid-era with less fear.

Recent months have highlighted another casual victim of the pandemic though and the arts sector around the world has suffered. Many artists have had to resort to a more common 9-5 professional working life, if they were lucky enough to find a job. Stacking shelves at the local supermarket or packing online grocery orders often being one of the most available jobs.

Slowly but surely, it seems the whole entertainment industry — an industry often built on zero-hour gigs — is starting to collapse and the first big, international brand has shut it doors yesterday in the UK.

CineWorld Closes 127 Cinemas in the UK and US

The closure, which was confirmed only on Tuesday puts 5,500 jobs at risk. A majority of which are zero-hour contract giggers without recourse to any of the current British Covid-support schemes for employees.

The chain, who in 2018 purchased US chain Regal, and was largely in debt since cut the cord after the release of the 25th Bond movie, No Time to Die, was postponed.


Image by Anatolu Agency/Getty Images, via The Guardian

It would be simple to say that CineWorld wasn’t already struggling, and everything was rose in the world of cinema before the pandemic, but the movie theater scene has been under constant attack in recent decades and what was in many cities a local theater is now a “blockbuster megaplex” or was shuttered many years ago already.

In last decade, ever more than before, Hollywood has focused mostly on churning out low-risk blockbuster after blockbuster, often with mega marketing campaigns and lots of “paraphernalia” in order to maximize the box office revenue in an ever faster and less memorable industry.

Now, now suddenly, it seems that the current potential revenue just isn’t good enough anymore for Hollywood after the box office revenue for Nolan’s Tenet disappointed.

As a result almost every movie’s release has been delayed with at least year. People following the movie news have hardly had any week recently without multiple upcoming big screen titles being delayed, including the much awaited and already previously released 25th James Bond movie No Time to Die. Leaving an industry which has built its recent offerings around blockbusters hapless.

As the arts, and entertainment sector in general, will have to continue with limited capacity audiences, the writing could be on the wall for the mega Hollywood — and also Bollywood — titles and the best paid actors.

Will the viewer continue to look forward to going to the movies or will the shift to streaming, with always cheaper high quality home projectors, become the fatal blow to an industry which has too often focused only on maximization?

If you’re still looking forward to going to the movies, let me know in the comments. I haven’t for years anymore as I think the home experience — with friends — is the better experience nowadays.


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I still enjoy going to the cinema. I like the whole popcorn, soda and hot dog experience. I don't go often as I hate the Marvel, DC comic, huge budget movies which leaves very little space for good-old-fashioned action adventures and movies that tell human stories and have stunning cinematography. Obviously, my scope for visiting the cinema is very limited!

I think there are many indebted businesses that are going to use Covid as an excuse to go under. Obviously, the situation is very bad but like Cineworld, there are many other businesses that were barely scraping by before the pandemic. Change management is a huge part of running any business at any time and failures to stay on top of a fluid situation is a of paramount importance.

Back to Bond however, and I can understand why they have postponed yet again but its a huge hammer blow to the industry but not a fatal one. Cinemas with zero-hours contract staff are easy enough to mothball for the time being so I think they'll be back, albeit with fewer branches.

AS for watching movies at home, I generally don't anymore. Many years ago a superb home cinema system but never seemed to be able to force the time to sit uninterrupted for 2 hours to each anything, and stacking open a can of coke and bag of crisps wasn't the same as almost puking after owning a bucket of cheesy popcorn and flicking a few kernels at the noisy bastards two rows in front!

I m hoping that studios will be forced to make the kind of movies I like again due to huge budget constraints and independent studios will come to the fore. Then I will eagerly be awaiting my next trip to the flicks.

I don't like popcorn and the hot dogs I used to eat growing up were the German style: crisper bun and sauerkraut.

The odd blockbuster, like the upcoming Dune will drag me to the cinema but generally I prefer more B-movies or at least character movies. Am totally with Scorcese on the topic of current blockbusters there.

But maybe I should try the popcorn v. noisy bastards thing. I can see how that would improve my cinema experience.

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"Greyhound" with Tom Hanks was released to Apple TV for streaming instead of the big movie houses which were obviously closed. They apparently made money out of it even though it was released in February.
I haven't been to the cinema for over 15 years now and just not into that as watching at home is way better.

Apple is still young in the streaming game and applies a totally different calculation than Netflix (one year free subscription with any device acquisition).

Direct to streaming releases will have a massive impact on production budgets as well. I would be totally fine if the rental market starts on release date. $13-15 to watch at home comfort and with as many people as I want seems a good deal to me.

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That business model has been taken for granted for far too long. Only a few had access to the potential profits. A tiny handful of artists would make millions, that long list of names in the credits would earn your basic salary and nothing more. Meanwhile, the doors have closed off to a majority of capable creators, since they had no way of breaking in to the inner circles.

This pandemic has been tough on the arts and entertainment world but when one door closes, another opens. People will find a way to succeed using other means. Hopefully they can do better than free movies with ads though. The only thing worse than 20 people coughing or talking during a movie, is a five second ad interruption every few minutes.

A new model could involve crypto like we have here. Anyone could become an executive producer by purchasing movie tokens that could lead to enough money in the budget to produce the film. Once it's ready, the public could then have access to that token, make a purchase much like buying a ticket. Millions of viewers/consumers puts tremendous buy pressure on the token, increasing the value steadily over time. From there, people profit, pay everyone who needs to get paid with the return on initial investment, hopefully break even at least. Meanwhile the token still holds value, provided consumers are still buying years down the road. Can do this with music and books as well.

Some people will have to be satisfied taking less than $20m per movie. I guess that will mean we won't see RDJ in the Marvel Universe anymore.

Here's hoping smaller chains can convert to start showing movies from the B- and even C-scene again. Would be bittersweet if Netflix and Disney+ end up as the outlets for blockbusters (making much less tho) and cinemas are returned to the arts.

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Blair Witch cost around 60k to produce, then turned out a 250 million profit. We don't see that happen often, and it's not because the cheap movies are terrible. Most ideas get thrown out because most don't stand a chance since screentime goes to those with the big budgets, yet majority of these flicks today suck, regardless of how much they cost to make.

Iron Man is dead...

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I truly love going to the cinema. Actually, at least in my family, it's way easier for us to properly watch a movie by going to the cinema. Away from any distraction we could get at home.

It's definitively true that we don't usually go every weekend. But that also makes every trip to the movies "a special event". I'm pretty aware that film industry it's drastically changing. And probably for good.

But I don't really think that it's the dawning of an industry. I honestly think it's more about reinvention. Maybe we'll start to see a more hybrid industry. In which both streaming and theaters will coexist. The later being more of a niche part of the business. Also, this Cov-Sars-2 crisis had permitted, at least in my community, the rise of Drive-in Theaters. Something that I really was to young to experience and am really glad to have the opportunity to do it now.

Regarding to No Time To Die. I really love Bond movies, and have been waiting for the release the whole year. I believe that if they did just like Ford did with the Ford Bronco's unveiling and permitted people to watch the movie from multiple online platforms alongside with theaters (where available) it could have a great impact. But that's just my personal opinion and I'm not a professional in anyway regarding the industry. Only time will tell what's to come.

The same day online release is something which has massively helped the B-movies scene. But, of course, they don't target a $750 million revenue or. Record breaking box office opening weekends.

Bond, especially this one, tends to get me to the theater. I even went to watch Skyfall twice, only to discover there was no re-watch value after first viewing.

The argument of less distraction than at home is a powerful one for families.

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COVID-19 has just finalised the trend that had been accelerating in previous years. Quality of scripted television has surpassed anything on the big screen a long time ago. Abundance of streaming services and convenience of viewing quality content as someone's leisure, withou wasting money and time for commuting, would ultimately have the same effects on cinema theatre industry even without pandemic.

Idea of going to cinema to watch films would be be as alien to future generation as the idea of going to theatre to watch stage plays is looking to our generation.

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Hey! I do go watch stage plays and I wish more people did. No, not those franchised musicals traveling the world. And no, that doesn't make me old nor world, it just makes the rest under cultured. :P

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The delay in the release times is the epitome of the "sunshine posters" :D

I think they are going to regret finding a point to keep serving on well, as perhaps a large portion of their audience will be lost forever to other services.

It does feel ultra greedy to opt for delaying. And risky.

I wonder if they put the latest Bond as a PPV on Netflix globally, would they pull in enough viewers?

No. Netflixers already constantly complain about price, PPV will see them stage a revolution on Twitter.

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10 dollars on Patreon? :D

How about just start the rental market on release date? Rather than make us wait 4 months. I will gladly pay few bucks more than the current rental price on Prime or iTunes, so $13-15.

I think Mark Cuban was absolutely successful with his studio when #starting that btw. That was a user feedback decision, asked on his blog. Of course, that can’t be done yet because time between theatrical release and other release is contractually determined with the distributors.

Yep. I think it will arrive quickly, much to the detriment of the theatres. Soon, no one will need to leave home for any reason at all, and date night will be a swipe left or right with a new somebody special every weekend. Oh - that is what it is now :D

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Me and my kids LOVE the movies and will probably be visiting again once it makes more sense to do so.

I hope to see the comeback of the drive in theatre. My Mom Bus would be very comfortable there and we could all social distance.

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I guess the whole experience has in recent decade been tailored to maximize on the family entertainment value. Even more than before.

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I truly love going to the cinema. Actually, at least in my family, it's way easier for us to properly watch a movie by going to the cinema. Away from any distraction we could get at home.

It's definitively true that we don't usually go every weekend. But that also makes every trip to the movies "a special event". I'm pretty aware that film industry it's drastically changing. And probably for good.

But I don't really think that it's the dawning of an industry. I honestly think it's more about reinvention. Maybe we'll start to see a more hybrid industry. In which both streaming and theaters will coexist. The later being more of a niche part of the business. Also, this Cov-Sars-2 crisis had permitted, at least in my community, the rise of Drive-in Theaters. Something that I really was to young to experience and am really glad to have the opportunity to do it now.

Regarding to No Time To Die. I really love Bond movies, and have been waiting for the release the whole year. I believe that if they did just like Ford did with the Ford Bronco's unveiling and permitted people to watch the movie from multiple online platforms alongside with theaters (where available) it could have a great impact. But that's just my personal opinion and I'm not a professional in anyway regarding the industry. Only time will tell what's to come.