Many fans are frustrated with delays on huge movies


Ash Catalan

COVID-19 has changed the movie industry as premieres have to change much to the chagrin of fans.

Luke Sepulveda, Staff Writer

The effects of COVID-19 global pandemic sometimes feel like something out of a movie: thousands of deaths around the planet, businesses shut down, the general population having to wear face masks.

So there is some irony when you consider that the outbreak of a deadly virus has been especially difficult for the movie industry. According to reporting in Variety, the movie industry could lose between $20-$31 billion in revenues in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Movie studios have been reluctant to release blockbuster films for major franchises when they know audiences are two afraid of the coronavirus to go to movie theaters to watch them on the big screen. Several big titles that were poised for release this year have been delayed multiple times, including Wonder Woman: 1984, Black Widow and Pixar’s Soul.

Wonder Woman now has a Christmas Day release (but could get delayed again). Black Widow has been pushed to May 7 and Soul is getting a Christmas Day Disney+ release.

And then there is the story of Godzilla Vs Kong, which has been done since 2019, and now has a May 21 release date.

While most fans have been understanding with the delays and changes, some are understandably frustrated. Specifically, Godzilla and monster movie fans are not happy with the lack of promotion for the ultimate monster mashup.

So it’s not just the lack of movies to watch, fans are also experiencing a drought in new trailers to watch and marketing accessories to add to their collections.

Studios like Disney have attempted to make up for the lack of new releases by premiering a few films like Mulan as digital only exclusives available on their streaming platforms.

However, these releases have not been enough to make up for the loss of movie theater ticket sales.

Movie theaters themselves are struggling mightily, as well. Some local movie theaters like the Alamo Drafthouse have tried to drum up businesses with discounts and exclusive screenings for small parties in which patrons rent out a whole theater for a group.

With the lack of new releases and pent up demand to watch movies, it is no surprise that the stock in movie theater chain AMC shot up the day after Pfizer announced that it’s COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90 percent effective. Movie fans will likely be heading straight to the movie ticket line soon after they get through the vaccination line.

The pandemic could force movie studios to make decisions that have proved difficult in the past because they didn’t want to upset theater company owners that controlled access to one of their most lucrative profit makers — movie theater ticket sales. Now that theaters are mostly sidelined that is allowing studios to release films in theaters and on streaming services simultaneously, which has rarely happened for major blockbuster films.

Warner Bros. announced recently that 17 movies — its entire 2021 slate — would each arrive simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max. According to The New York Times, rather than having to wait roughly 90 days, the period that studios have long given theaters to play films exclusively, HBO Max subscribers will receive instant access to big-budget extravaganzas like a “Suicide Squad” sequel, “Godzilla vs. Kong,” “Dune” and “The Matrix 4.” Other movies speeding to living rooms next year include Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “In the Heights,” Clint Eastwood’s “Cry Macho,” the next “Conjuring” horror film, “Space Jam: A New Legacy” and a “Sopranos” prequel called “The Many Saints of Newark.”

Warner Bros. could force Disney or other large movie studios with streaming services make similar moves to make money and satisfy customer demand for new movies to watch while they avoid movie theaters.