Instep Today

How will Hollywood respond to the coronavirus crisis

Instep Today
By Instep Desk
Tue, 03, 20

As the industry is changed forever, what are some of the main concerns and will they maintain a cavalier attitude towards the lowest paid members of the industry…

As a wise person once said, ‘The world, as we know it, has changed forever’. And that is now a truism that holds true for every industry including Hollywood, with all of its American pop culture might, that is followed globally.

More than 70 productions have been halted across television. At least four actors including Tom Hanks and Idris Elba have tested positive for coronavirus; entire offices and film productions have been halted. Movie release dates have been moved, affecting the entire calendar of releases. How much loss can Hollywood absorb?

There is only so much Netflix people will watch before looking for new seasons of their favourite shows – even if they are Netflix originals.

As Variety noted, there are three questions that are hounding Hollywood. “How painful will the toll of shutdowns be on the industry’s lowest-paid workers? How high will the financial losses climb? And how will the business handle the unprecedented domino effect on Hollywood’s traditional calendar?”

The catastrophic effect of coronavirus will most likely be felt in 2021, for one thing. “This may have the effect of reining in a lot of things that have been out of control for a long time,” Variety noted, quoting a veteran studio executive.

The sad truth is that none of the studios and networks or all of Hollywood has addressed the lowest paid members of the industry, confirmed Variety in their piece.

“The workers who get paid the least, have the least-quality healthcare and the least ability to use it are being pressured to continue exposing themselves for the sake of showing up,” one production assistant told Variety. “If we stay home, we can use sick days, but if we run out of sick days, we don’t get paid. … But my bosses have an attitude of ‘If you get sick, it’s your fault.’ In a pandemic, man.”

“With [nearly] every major sports event either suspended or canceled, we are likely to see almost a large-scale experiment that is likely to lay bare the economics of the legacy television business,” a Barclays analyst Kannan Venkateshwar wrote in a research note, calling live sports the “last remaining anchor” for television essentially.

“Pushing into 2021 or beyond could prove to be tougher because of Disney’s schedule normalizing relative to the dip in previously scheduled Disney releases this year in both number and profile of titles,” said Venkateshwar. “This could force a search for other alternatives to monetize these titles, especially those which may not be released widely or [that] have smaller budgets.”

– With information from Variety