COVID-19 shuts down the film industry

Illustration by Erin Jhi

Aerin Fortes, Contributing Writer

COVID-19 has brought much of the world to a standstill, and 2020’s most-anticipated films are no exception. It started with halting of films in pre-production and has now evolved into nonstop announcements regarding films that were set to release in the forthcoming months.

On March 11, Tom Hanks revealed to the world that celebrities are not immune to COVID-19, announcing that he had tested positive for the virus while filming in Australia. This resulted in an indefinite halt to the pre-production of Baz Luhrmann’s untitled Elvis Presley biopic that was being shot. This is just one of many major upcoming films that have been postponed due to the pandemic.

The first of many movies announced to be delayed was the final installment of the James Bond series, “No Time to Die.” The film moved from its original U.S. release date of April 10 to Nov. 25, in hopes that theaters worldwide would return to their normal traffic.

In a statement on the film’s Twitter, the producers justified the decision by “careful consideration and thorough evaluation of the global theatrical marketplace.” This delay left moviegoers wondering if other studios would follow suit in postponing their movies or if “No Time to Die” would stand alone.

In the following week, studios and directors began revealing their delay announcements one after another. John Krasinski, writer and director of “A Quiet Place,” tweeted the morning of March 12 that the film’s sequel will not be released on time. This was especially startling to fans awaiting this release because the notice came a striking seven days before its scheduled U.S. screenings. 

“COVID-19 has brought much of the world to a standstill, and 2020’s most-anticipated films are no exception.” — Aerin Fortes

Even more, Krasinski’s message was one of the few that did not come with a newly expected release date, which means “A Quiet Place” devotees will be waiting for the sequel indefinitely.

An hour later, Facebook saw one of the most popular film franchises in the world post its delay. “Fast & Furious 9” has been pushed an entire 11 months from May 22 to April 2, 2021. 

Many of these announcements use the same general blanket statements of protecting the global family,” awaiting a time where every fan across the world can safely access movie theaters and see these films together.

March 12 also saw a press email from Disney delaying not only the release of the highly anticipated live-action remake “Mulan,” which was set to show in U.S. theaters at the end of the month, but also “The New Mutants” and “Antlers.” This demonstrates the extreme caution studios are taking in protecting their sales as the two latter movies were slated to release in April. 

Marvel fans were not untouched either. Those excited for the next phase of the MCU were met with disappointment on Tuesday when “Black Widow” was postponed to yet another undetermined date. 

Slated for May 1, “Black Widow” was set to be one of the kick off films for a summer of  blockbusters. This release date was crucial to the MCU calendar and the summer Hollywood season. 

The fate of cinema’s most profitable months remain unknown, especially when considering the box office damage the pandemic has caused in its wake.

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