Going out to a movie was once one of the most common pastimes in America. Unfortunately, the arrival of COVID-19 and the subsequent global pandemic have resulted in the closure of thousands of movie theaters across the country. For those cinemas that have reopened, the experience has changed. In addition to the distribution side of the film industry, Hollywood as a whole had to stop film production for several months. Without the ability to gather in a large group or travel to other countries, COVID-19 has had a major effect on the production side of Hollywood as well. 

Randal Gindi is a real estate investor who lives in Brooklyn, New York. He has an insatiable hunger to learn every aspect of a business, whether as an owner or an investor. Gindi has a keen eye for business and an astute insight into market trends. On both a professional and personal level, Gindi has a special interest in the movie industry. He provides his insight into how COVID-19 has impacted the American film industry. 

Box Office

Randal Gindi claims that at the start of pandemic back in March, it was predicted that the global box office would lose a minimum of $5 billion due to COVID-19 and that the Los Angeles box office would fall by 20%. Many countries around the world, and certain states in the U.S., ended up closing down movie theaters for months. For those that have reopened, many states have imposed restrictions that prohibit more than a certain amount or percentage of people from being in a single theater together. 

Given that far less people are going to the movies than ever before, major distribution companies have decided to cancel or postpone the release of their movies. For example, Disney’s Mulan, slated to be released this past Spring, was pushed to the Summer before Disney eventually decided they would release it by way of their online streaming service in September. This course of action has become the norm, whereby distribution companies are choosing to forgo a film’s theatrical release altogether, in favor of releasing it online via a streaming service. Another minor impact on box offices has been a resurgence of drive-in movie theaters in many states. Given that the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19 seems to be far less when outdoors or inside your own vehicle with members of your household, many existing drive-in theaters have seen a rise in numbers. 

Awards Shows and Festivals

Another way that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the American film industry is in relation to awards shows and festivals, shares Randal Gindi. The Cannes Film Festival was postponed to 2021, meanwhile the Toronto International Film Festival went ahead, but with partial online programming and partial in-person screenings that were held in drive-in venues throughout the province of Ontario. The Tribeca Film Festival partnered with YouTube to launch an entirely virtual film festival. In regards to awards shows, many of the biggest events for the American film industry have been postponed. The Golden Globe Awards, which take place annually in January, were pushed to the end of February, while the Academy Awards were pushed back by two months from the end of February to the end of April. The British Academy Film Awards have followed suit. None of these awards shows have yet to announce if they will be in-person or virtual in 2021. 

Film Production

Production on USA films all but came to a halt in March. While filming had to stop, Randal Gindi claims that behind-the-scenes work was able to continue, such as writing scripts, video casting, virtual location scouting, and editing. Now, production companies have been given the go-ahead to resume filming all over the world. However, there are restrictions in place, such as the number of people allowed on set at one time. Many people working on U.S. film sets are also getting tested for the virus daily, to ensure that if someone contracts it, they will know right away and can temporarily close down production.