Has COVID-19 Changed the Film Industry for Good?


Michael Buckner for Variety

(Image via Varsity)

Chloe Hoyle, Writer

Despite setbacks caused by COVID-19, Hollywood, along with the film industry finds ways to adapt. COVID generated many challenges for the movie industry, including the inability to finish production tasks such as casting, set, and costume design. Hollywood also faced many problems when all film productions were halted mid-March and many movies or shows could not be finished or edited. 

As people get progressively more comfortable with COVID, casts and crew have begun to return to work after a 5-month gap. In the few states that have initiated reopening film, there are tight restrictions on set. Some producers say they may be taking inspiration from video games that use virtual sets. For example, The Lion King remake was made using an entirely virtual set. With this method, actors could even be edited into a digital environment. A film producer spoke to Variety.com and said “For the major film productions and a handful of premium tv shows, this pandemic was like tranquilizing an elephant, we’re not going to be able to stand up right away.” Many Hollywood sets require a large cast of actors and producers all shoved into a shared space. This obviously won’t be possible for at least a few years. Some movies are beginning to be made on the topic of COVID 19, therefore allowing actors to be distanced and wear masks without it deflecting from the concept of the movie. Producers who have begun working on filming have said that the safety precautions cost almost 10% of the entire production budget. 

Many Hollywood filmmakers have spoken about how romantic scenes will be extremely limited, and many actors have explicitly said they would not participate in any romance scene due to COVID risks. Agencies are searching for actors whose spouses are also actors to cast them to do romantic scenes. A German filmmaker spoke to DW.com and said “if a scene requires actors to be closer than 1.5 meters to each other for more than a minute, they will need to be quarantined. And everyone on set has to be regularly tested for COVID-19”.

Although companies that film and produce movies have been struggling, digital streaming services like Netflix have been very successful. Netflix succeeded most at the beginning of the COVID lockdown because people had nothing to do but sit at home and watch “Tiger King.” Over the course of the pandemic, Netflix gained over 10 million subscribers.

COVID 19 opened everyone’s eyes in the world of film. Some grew a new appreciation for film while using it as a time passer while in lockdown. Producers and all involved in filmmaking realized just how much physical contact is involved in Hollywood. The movie-making industry reopening will be a slow and steady process, and there will be many challenges that Hollywood and places all around the world will have to face. Based on the way the pandemic has changed everything so quickly, the way we view movies may never be the same again.