Possibly the most damaging repercussion of the pandemic to the industry was the force placed on companies to delay the release of their films. Most infamously, the 25th instalment of James Bond, and Daniel Craig’s last outing as the character, has been pushed back three times in total since the pandemic started - its first release date was scheduled for April 2020, then to November of the same year. But with the virus still rampant around the world, it was then delayed to April 2021, before once again being pushed back to October 8th as cinemas remained shut earlier this year. It is a move that was seen by companies as the best way to protect their films from box office failure and in a statement last year MGM, Universal and the Bond producers simply said: “We understand the delay will be disappointing to our fans but we now look for to sharing No Time To Die next year”.
Other films, such as Christopher Nolan’s Tenet were not so lucky and only reached $41 million in the US when released in 2020. The international earnings were better at $280 million, however, the lack of the film’s success in the US was due to the remained closure of cinemas in three main markets - New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. A week later, Warner decided to push Wonder Woman 1984 from October to Christmas due to similar concerns about box office underperformance. Similarly, Disney pushed back the release of multiple films and eventually came to the decision to simultaneously screen in cinemas and offer them on Disney+ for a premium fee. But whilst these companies try to protect their potential earnings, the knock-on effect for cinemas is a huge one, as many people post-lockdown have chosen to stick with streaming rather than visit a screening.
It still remains to be seen how quickly the industry can fully bounce back.
Moreover, it’s not just the financial side of the industry that COVID has had an impact on. Filming itself on multiple sets had to be shut down due to cast and crew members testing positive, something which has major implications down the line for its success. In a viral clip, actor Tom Cruise was heard last December ranting at the production crew on the set of Mission Impossible 7 for allegedly ignoring COVID-19 safety protocols. He admitted later on that he had become emotional at the prospect of the set being shut down after it had already experienced two delays in filming. Many other projects experienced the same thing, but with rather less shouting from their lead star, and to this day it still remains to be seen how quickly the industry can fully bounce back.