For the first time in history, the United States box office has reported zero revenue, due the ongoing impact of the Coronavirus (via Screen Rant). This comes as no surprise, since most theater chains have shut down nationwide last week, including Regal and AMC. Though not every U.S. theater operator is staying closed, as some Drive- Ins are finding a way to stay afloat, they are still greatly outnumbered by number of major cinemas. As the pandemic continues to spread throughout the United States, independently owned businesses and multinational corporations alike are not immune. The virus has even affected the production schedule for multiple releases including The Batman and Shang-Chi. It is still uncertain of the full effect that this will have on major studios, but analysts suggest that it will cost them greatly, as delays on No Time to Die, Fast 9, Mulan and other planned releases will lose Hollywood billions (via Screen Rant).
Recently a few major titles have opted to the on-demand route, but Oscar- nominated filmmaker Christopher Nolan (Tenet) says more needs to be done to protect theaters and their employees, stated in his essay for The Washington Post.
“In addition to the help theater employees need from the government, the theatrical exhibition community needs strategic and forward-thinking partnership from the studios. The past few weeks have been a reminder, if we needed one, that there are parts of life that are far more important than going to the movies. But, when you consider what theaters provide, maybe not so many as you might think.”Christopher Nolan on supporting movie theaters, during the Coronavirus outbreak
Additionally producer Jason Blum says he thinks theaters could shrink when things go back to normal, if the effects of VOD continue on like they have been. Fortunately, Onward and The Invisible Man have managed to take in small amounts of revenue, as they screened at 135 and 111 venues respectively this week. However, as some theaters continue to stay open, it could potentially spread the pandemic ever faster, driving many studios under, not to mention the endangerment of countless lives across the country. But if we can all do our part to disrupt the spread of this outbreak through quarantining and social distancing, the sooner theaters and society in general can return to normal.
What films do you think the Coronavirus could affect, in the coming months, and is VOD a fair option for studios, during this time? Let us know in the comments section of our website or on our Twitter & Instagram accounts, and stay tuned to Kernel for all the latest movie news.