How 2020 Warped the Entertainment Industry

Photo from Ringer

Hope Walton, Journalist


With so much uncertainty about the future, this has been a tough year on everyone’s spirits. One industry heavily affected by Covid-19 was entertainment, begging the question: what will movies and TV look like in future?

While in quarantine, millions turned to streaming services Netflix and Disney Plus. Theatre fans celebrated the early release of Hamilton over the 4th of July, increasing downloads of the Disney Plus app by 74% in just one weekend. However, Disney also expected to profit off huge releases such as Black Widow, WandaVision, and Loki, but each had to push back filming several months. They all explored individual stories of heroes that fans now may not see until Summer of 2021. This is also true of mainstream movies like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and the sequels of Spiderman into the Spider Verse and Spiderman: Far from Home. And future films will have to find ways to work around guidelines, possibly by employing more CGI technology to limit crew interactions.

Netflix has sparked outrage with the cancellation announcements of a slew of shows in late August including: Anne with an E, I am not ok with this, The Society, Patriot Act, and many more. Fans took to social media to express disappointment at these cancellations with many threatening to cancel subscriptions to the site altogether. Not surprisingly, big corporations are fearful to gamble millions of dollars on uncertain media. However, while huge corporate studios will be able to recover, often independent producers rely on loans. And with the current economic state, these loans are hard to secure. 

Photo from Variety

Cutting to the present, several studios have now resumed filming, trying to release content by the end of the year. For only the third time in history the Oscars were postponed back until April of next year to give meritorious films the opportunity to release in January and February. This all comes in the wake of several states announcing proposed guidelines for resuming production. 

Crews and writers will have to think of creative ways to work around restrictions, along with keeping the amount of extras as small as possible. As a result, this coming year we may see more intimate casts and dramas focusing on the story on a single character. One genre which we may see explode is horror. It would allow writers to focus on one character and explore possible psychological storylines. There are many parallels to the months people lived in isolation, and the feeling of claustrophobia that millions experienced this past year when quarantined. 

It’s hard not to think about all the films we missed out on and the major impacts they could have had. 2020 was meant to be a year of strong female heroes and leads, like Florence Pugh and Scarlett Johansson, but after this five-month hiatus with so many restrictions, these and many others have been put on hold. While we look forward to new creative, groundbreaking films to come, we can certainly say that this summer has been one for the books, not for the screens.