Virus results in seismic shift for movie buffs

If you love going to the movies and you’re cooped up at home because of the coronavirus, Hollywood is offering an alternative.

I spoke with Frank Scheck, Arts Critic and Political Columnist for The Hollywood Reporter.

Q: What’s happening in terms of new releases?

A: There may be a paradigm shift. A lot of the studios are moving either new releases or upcoming major releases to Video On Demand. It’s long been a bone of contention about how long a period of time it would be between a theatrical release and a film being made available in the home, and they’ve kept that window open to keep theatre goers happy. In this unique situation that window has eroded, and it may be difficult to get it back again.

Q: Will people go back to watching movies in theatres?

A: Yes people will go back to seeing movies in theatres, but if they get used to watching new movies at home they may want to continue having the VOD option.

Q: Do you know of any film studios making the shift to Video on Demand already because of COVID-19?

A: Yes, they already have, and instead of charging six or seven dollars, they’re charging $20 to watch on VOD. A lot of the new releases have come out already ahead of the original release date. Today for instance Disney announced that Onward, the most recent Pixar movie that only came out a few weeks ago, is going on-demand. Super-hero movies Bloodshot, and Birds of Prey, Trolls World Tour, The Hunt, The Invisible Man, and Frozen II, those are all going to VOD.

Q: Are any theatres open right now in the U.S. that you know of?

A: Right now there are still about 400 independent movie theatres open in America believe it or not. None of the major chains, but who knows, those might have to close soon too.

Q: Film production is currently ground to a halt. What happens to movies that were in production?

A: Nobody really knows at this point. Everyone is improvising. The movie that Tom Hanks was filming in Australia about Elvis Presley just got indefinitely sidelined. A lot of productions will be. Some will be able to come back, and others will not.

Q: What about TV series?

A: The broadcast TV season usually starts in the fall. That’s likely not going to happen this year.

Q: So we might be watching a lot of reruns?

A: Yes.

By: Cathy Sobocan – News Reporter, ELMNT FM

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