We have all missed our regular visits to the cinema during recent months, however the im-pact on the film industry has been wide and varied. Projected losses for the film industry vary from grim to worse however (as I write this at the end of June) Variety reports a £74 billion revenue loss for the combined creative industries. The US estimated revenues in the film industry would fall by $17 billion USD by the end of May. Over 70 000 cinemas closed in China alone.
In Australia, the film industry was closed after actor Tom Hanks tested positive when working on a bio pic of Elvis Presley on the Gold Coast. Filming in Hollywood stopped, Bol-lywood stopped, the Brits went into lockdown. The Slovak Film Commission noted that they never closed.
The costs of the shutdowns are hard to establish. In Canada it is estimated 172,000 jobs have been lost in the film and television industry during this time while the figure for Holly-wood is estimated at over 1 000 000. The British Film Institute has announced a £4.6 mil-lion relief fund to help independent producers restart after the pandemic.
Even the film festivals have been affected. Cannes originally, postponed until the end of June, are still considering how to hold their event. The American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that for next year’s Oscars it will, as a once only, allow films to enter that have not been screened at theatres but have been streamed. This is a backflip from their earlier decisions to encourage the continuation of films being screened in cinemas.
Netflix perhaps is one of the few winners over recent COVID months. They have more than doubled their subscribers and a number of film studios opted to release straight onto streaming platforms rather than delay for cinemas to reopen. The downside is that many of Netflix original series have halted filming as have the majority of studios thus creating concerns about the dis-ruption to their programming and ongoing shows.
Film studios are looking to restart in countries where COVID 19 rates have been low. Iceland is a favourite with testing and quarantine protocols being written by the government but also in-centives given to film in the country. As the British Film Commission (BFC) publish their 34 page guidelines ‘Working Safely During COVID-19 in Film and High-end TV Drama Production’ in the first week of June, here in Australia we can all be thankful. At least Neighbours has resumed filming!