The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the box office and streaming platforms. In the early stages of the pandemic, movie theatres around the world were forced to shut down in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. This led to a dramatic decrease in box office revenues, as people were no longer able to go out and see movies in theaters.
In addition to the loss of box office revenues, the pandemic has also disrupted the production and release of new films. Many Bollywood productions were put on hold or delayed due to the restrictions on movement and gatherings. This has resulted in a backlog of films that are waiting to be released, which has further impacted the industry's financial performance. While the industry has adapted to the challenges posed by the pandemic and has begun to release films again, it is likely that the pandemic has left deep holes in the wallets of film producers.
While it is difficult to quantify the specific financial losses that individual movies have suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as it has had a broad and far-reaching impact on the film industry as a whole. However, it is safe to say that most movies released during the pandemic have suffered some level of financial loss due to the closure of movie theaters and the shift towards streaming platforms.
Some movies that were particularly affected by the pandemic include:
Tenet: This blockbuster film from director Christopher Nolan was one of the first major releases to come out after the pandemic began. While it performed well internationally, it struggled at the domestic box office due to the closure of theaters and the reluctance of some people to go out and see a film in person.
Wonder Woman 1984: This superhero film was originally slated for release in June 2020, but was delayed multiple times due to the pandemic. When it was finally released in December of that year, it was available in theaters and on streaming platforms simultaneously. While it performed well on streaming platforms, it was unable to make up for the losses sustained due to the closure of theaters.
No Time to Die: The 25th James Bond film was originally scheduled for release in April 2020, but was delayed multiple times due to the pandemic. When it was finally released in November of that year, it performed well internationally but struggled at the domestic box office due to the ongoing closure of theaters.
Sooryavanshi: This action film, starring Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif, was originally scheduled for release in March 2020, but was delayed multiple times due to the pandemic. It was eventually released in April 2021, over a year later than originally planned.
83: This sports drama, starring Ranveer Singh as Indian cricketer Kapil Dev, was originally scheduled for release in April 2020, but was delayed due to the pandemic. It was eventually released in June 2021, over a year later than originally planned.
Radhe: This action film, starring Salman Khan, was originally scheduled for release in May 2020, but was delayed due to the pandemic. It was eventually released in May 2021, over a year later than originally planned.
In response to the closure of theaters, many studios and production companies began releasing their films on streaming platforms, such as Netflix and Hulu, earlier than planned. This shift to streaming platforms allowed people to continue watching new releases from the comfort of their own homes, and it also helped to mitigate some of the financial losses that studios and production companies were experiencing due to the lack of box office revenues.
The rise of streaming platforms has also been driven by the increased availability of high-quality content. Many studios and production companies have released their films on streaming platforms earlier than planned due to the closure of theaters, and streaming platforms have also increased their investment in original content. This has led to a proliferation of new and exciting content that is available exclusively on streaming platforms.
As the pandemic has continued, the box office and streaming platforms have adapted to the new normal. Many theatres have reopened with capacity limits and safety measures in place, such as mandatory masks and social distancing. However, the return of movie theatres has been slow, and many people are still hesitant to go out and see films in person due to the risk of contracting COVID-19.
As a result, the box office has continued to struggle, with revenues remaining well below pre-pandemic levels. In contrast, streaming platforms have seen a significant increase in usage and revenue during the pandemic. This trend is likely to continue as more people turn to streaming platforms for their entertainment needs.
One potential long-term impact of the pandemic on the film industry is a shift towards more digital releases. Prior to the pandemic, many studios were already experimenting with day-and-date releases, which involve releasing a film in theatres and on streaming platforms on the same day. The success of these releases during the pandemic may lead to more studios adopting this model in the future, which could further diminish the importance of the traditional box office.
Drive-in theaters have also seen a resurgence in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way for people to watch movies and enjoy a night out while still practicing social distancing. Many traditional indoor theaters have been closed or operating at reduced capacity due to restrictions on gatherings, so drive-in theaters have provided an alternative option for people looking to watch movies.
In India, drive-in theaters have been popular for many years, and the pandemic has led to an increase in their popularity. Some cinema chains in India, such as PVR Cinemas and INOX, have set up temporary drive-in theaters in parking lots or other outdoor locations to meet the demand for movie-watching options during the pandemic. These drive-in theaters have been well received by moviegoers, who have appreciated the opportunity to watch movies in a safe and socially distanced environment.
In addition to traditional drive-in theaters, some companies in India had also set up drive-in events such as concerts and live performances in outdoor locations. These events have allowed people to enjoy live entertainment while still following social distancing guidelines.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a significant rise in short-form video content as well, As people turned to social media platforms and other online services for quick entertainment and connection while they were isolated at home. One of the main drivers of this trend was the increased usage of social media platforms, such as TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter, which allowed users to create and share short-form videos with their friends and followers. Many users turned to these platforms as a way to pass the time and stay connected with others while in quarantine.
With an active jump in the daily active users of such apps, this gave rise to content creators. People utilized their free time and started uploading funny and humorous short form content on internet, and those who were lucky, got benefited from the algorithm and rose to millions of followers. The pandemic has also led to the development of new platforms and technologies that have made it easier for content creators to reach a wider audience. For example, the rise of virtual events and livestreaming has allowed content creators to connect with their audience in real-time, even if they are not in the same location.
In addition to social media platforms, there was also a rise in short-form video content on streaming platforms, such as Reels, Sharechat, Moj, MXTakaTak, YouTube and Vimeo. These platforms saw an increase in viewership as people looked for ways to entertain themselves at home. The popularity of short-form video content was also driven by the fact that it is easy to consume and does not require a lot of time or attention. In a world where people were juggling work, school, and other responsibilities while in lockdown, short-form videos provided a quick and convenient way to relax and unwind. Addiction to short form content has also decreased the attention span of an average individual significantly. Studies show that the focus or attention span of an average social media user has come down to just 8 seconds, which makes it harder for us to focus on any video that is longer than 8 seconds. Such type of major behavioural and psychological changes have also impacted the film industry in the post pandemic era as people crave for instant entertainment that must be delivered to them within 10 seconds.
At the end of the day, we could conclude that COVID-19 pandemic led to a significant increase in short-form video content as people turned to the internet for entertainment and connection while in quarantine. This trend is continuing even after the pandemic has had an irreversible impact on the viewers, making more and more people become accustomed to consuming this type of content. The pandemic has had a significant impact on the box office and streaming platforms. While the film industry has had to adapt to the challenges posed by the pandemic, it is likely that the changes brought about by the pandemic will have long-lasting effects on the way that films are released and consumed.