These days the world seems to change on a daily basis and we’re all just trying to keep up with it all. There were many changes to our lives when the pandemic started, social distancing, wearing masks and so on and so forth. But one thing that seems to have gotten overlooked by the general public is our viewing habits. The days of going out to the movies are now long behind us, and people have gotten more accustomed to consuming media and art in the comfort of their own home.
The only constant thing in the universe is change, and the media industry has tried to fight change, every chance they got. The trends we all took for granted are gone now. Some, potentially forever. It used to be that upwards of three new major movie pictures would be released in your local multiplex every Friday. But, now you’ll be lucky to find a cinema open. The summer box office season was always an exciting time for the average movie goer, but no multimillion dollar blockbusters opened this year.
Holiday Movies At Home
This year, movie studios like Disney, Universal and Warner Bros. had to hold their major releases until things got better. But when things didn’t get better, studios started to experiment. They attempted to adapt to an industry forced to change. This Christmas will see the release of both Wonder Woman 1984 and Soul on HBO Max and Disney+ respectively. For the first time ever, audiences can watch a major blockbuster picture from the comfort of their own home. Many have even put screens up in their backyard to simulate theater screen viewing. And, the purchase of large screen TVs has most certainly boomed.
Warner Bros. announced that they’ll release their entire 2021 movie slate on HBO Max for no extra cost. That was once seen as a controversial move within the industry, and a brave one outside the industry. But, now that audiences have spent upwards of eight months in their homes, consuming new releases like Bill & Ted Face the Music and Mulan, viewers have grown used to it. Thanks to Amazon, audiences can rent movies like Love and Monsters and Come Away for only $20. All the above examples were supposed to be exclusively released to theatres. A trip to the theatre could cost upwards of $20 a person, depending on the region, but instead, now audiences are saving money; an important goal for so many in this time of Covid. Consumer habits have changed and the entertainment industry has had to change with it.
The Revival Of The Drive-In
One unexpected industry shift that has had a major positive effect was the move to drive-in movies. Long thought, extinct, perhaps a relic of the past, the few drive-ins that still exist in the country have seen a resurgence. The comfort of your home sounds nice, but with all the distractions of pets, neighbors or even your phones, it’s nice to be able to get out of the house, “stretch your legs” (metaphorically speaking of course) and watch a movie, “covid compliant.” Drive-in movie theatres give audiences the same refuge that the average movie theatre experience gave, plus they’re generally cheaper, and now, safer, and is a fun family outing.
TV As Escapism
Most of the network TV shows are filming, and are set, during the pandemic, following CDC protocols. People want an escape, and don’t always want to be reminded of what’s going on out in the world. Media is often considered ‘escapist art,’ especially these are days when viewers are hungry for a new world to escape into. Bill and Ted Face the Music was the perfect movie to release during the pandemic, for example. A story about two loveable people trying to make the world a better place. Audiences were happy to escape back into the world of Bill and Ted where everything works out in the end. New worlds to escape to are more important now than ever and the entertainment industry is experimenting with how best to deliver these new messages to their audiences.
Our wants and needs have changed dramatically during this time. It’s possible these changes may be permanent. There is no doubt that theatres will bounce back in some way, but right now the important thing is to remain safe and to inform and entertain. It’s exciting to have something to look forward to. People like talking about the “ next new thing.” With most TV shows these days already set during the pandemic, it’s nice to be able to flip on a new movie, or go out to a drive-in and escape into “another world” for a couple hours.
Brandon T. McClure
Creator & Co-host of the Fake Nerd Podcast
A huge movie buff, Brandon enjoys writing about the entertainment industry and deciphering industry trends. He is a frequent guest at the famed ComicCon Conventions and has appeared on panels both in person and virtually. He lives in Burbank, CA where his Covid bubble includes his girlfriend, 2 dogs and 3 cats.