Hollywood and COVID-19

February 19, 2021 • Volume 31, Issue 7
Will the pandemic permanently reshape the entertainment industry?
By Lorna Collier


As COVID-19 spread across America, one sector feeling a profound impact was the movie theater business. Most theaters closed for much of 2020, with revenues plummeting. AMC, the nation's largest chain, has teetered near bankruptcy. While some federal relief has been available for small cinemas, the future of theaters overall remains as uncertain as the course of the coronavirus itself. Meanwhile, the pandemic has accelerated changes already at play in the entertainment industry. Streaming services continue to attract customers who prefer the less costly, more convenient option of watching at home — especially on cheaper, better and bigger TVs. Warner Bros. is opening all its films for 2021 simultaneously online and in theaters, a move some fear could hasten theaters' demise. Pay TV also is feeling the impact, as financially strapped consumers drop cable, satellite and telecom subscriptions. Concerns over racial and gender inequity continue to be felt in the industry. So does the impact of China, a top bankroller and market for U.S. films — but one that requires movie makers to censor their work, even for U.S. audiences.

Screenshot from Wonder Woman 1984, starring Gal Gadot. (Screenshot)
Warner Bros. released Wonder Woman 1984, starring Gal Gadot, on the same day in theaters and on its streaming service. With many movie houses closed because of COVID-19, Warner said it will release all its 2021 films simultaneously to streaming and theaters. (Screenshot)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Feb. 19, 2021  Hollywood and COVID-19
Apr. 11, 2014  Future of TV
Nov. 09, 2012  Indecency on Television
Aug. 27, 2010  Reality TV
Jun. 20, 2008  Transition to Digital TV
Feb. 16, 2007  Television's Future
Mar. 18, 2005  Celebrity Culture
Oct. 29, 1999  Public Broadcasting
Aug. 15, 1997  Children's Television
Dec. 23, 1994  The Future of Television
Mar. 26, 1993  TV Violence
Sep. 18, 1992  Public Broadcasting
Oct. 04, 1991  Pay-Per-View
Feb. 17, 1989  A High-Tech, High-Stakes HDTV Gamble
Dec. 27, 1985  Cable Television Coming of Age
Sep. 07, 1984  New Era in TV Sports
Sep. 24, 1982  Cable TV's Future
Apr. 24, 1981  Public Broadcasting's Uncertain Future
May 09, 1980  Television in the Eighties
Oct. 25, 1972  Public Broadcasting in Britain and America
Mar. 26, 1971  Video Revolution: Cassettes and Recorders
Sep. 09, 1970  Cable Television: The Coming Medium
May 15, 1968  Television and Politics
Mar. 01, 1967  Financing of Educational TV
Dec. 16, 1964  Community Antenna Television
Oct. 21, 1964  Sports on Television
Feb. 28, 1962  Expansion of Educational Television
Aug. 28, 1957  Television in the Schools
Jan. 18, 1957  Movie-TV Competition
Sep. 06, 1955  Television and the 1956 Campaign
May 18, 1954  Educational Television
Sep. 03, 1953  Changing Fortunes of the Movie Business
Apr. 20, 1953  Televising Congress
May 31, 1951  Television in Education
Jan. 26, 1949  Television Boom
Jul. 12, 1944  Television
Consumer Behavior
Internet and Social Media
Movies and Entertainment
Popular Culture
Radio and Television
Retail Trade
Telecommunications and Wireless Technologies