Show Stopper: How the debut of Covid-19 is impacting Hollywood

Millions have seen the Netflix documentary, Pandemic: How To Prevent An Outbreak, but no one was quite prepared to combat the novel Covid-19 that took the world by storm. Declared by the World Health Organization as a pandemic on March 11, the virus has left nothing unaffected — not even the powerhouse that is Hollywood.

With approximately 16,309 confirmed cases of Coronavirus to date in California alone according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Governor Gavin Newsom has recommended the cancellation or postponement of gatherings of 250 or more people as the state struggles to contain the outbreak.

“Changing our actions for a short period of time will save the life of one or more people you know,” Newsom said in a public statement. “That’s the choice before us. Each of us has extraordinary power to slow the spread of this disease. Not holding that concert or community event can have cascading effects — saving dozens of lives and preserving critical health care resources that your family may need a month from now. The people in our lives who are most at risk — seniors and those with underlying health conditions — are depending on all of us to make the right choice.”

As a result, the entertainment industry has been forced to take action for the sake of public safety. Hollywood executives postponed highly anticipated premieres, like the showing of Daniel Craig’s final James Bond film, No Time to Die, and delayed release dates for long-awaited movies like Disney’s Mulan. 

Television networks halted production on a myriad of shows. Hits such as Grey’s Anatomy, The Bachelorette, and more from Warner. Bros TV, ViacomCBS, Apple TV+ and other major studios have all been suspended. Late-night shows are also being impacted, having to forfeit live studio audiences or go on a hiatus altogether.

In an attempt to make up for what’s been lost and to encourage people to “flatten the curve” by staying inside, studios have decided to bring their biggest films to viewers in quarantine.

Universal Pictures was the first to announce plans to make its recent theatrical releases, like The Hunt and The Invisible Man, as well as the upcoming Trolls World Tour, available to consumers immediately via on-demand providers. This breaks the tradition of allowing between 70 and 90 days to pass before a new movie is given a second life on the small screen — an unprecedented move for the studio. It didn’t take long for other studios to jump onto the bandwagon, and now, a good handful of films that were set to launch in early 2020 have been added to streaming services. 

This pandemic has without a doubt pushed Hollywood into uncharted territory and decreased profits across the board, but industry leaders understand that these measures are necessary for public health and safety.

“It’s fair to say we’re all sobered by the concern that we feel for everyone affected by this global crisis,” Former Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger said in a statement regarding Covid-19’s impact on the company. “These are challenging times for everyone. [But] what we’ve demonstrated over the years is that we’re incredibly resilient.”

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