2020 has been a tough year for Hollywood. Since COVID-19, film gross earnings have fallen to lows never thought possible. And after three months of closure, the cinemas that do open don’t have much of a summer blockbuster season to look forward to. Many releases have been delayed until fall or later.
But that’s not all. These are the biggest challenges of 2020 that the film industry is facing, and all fans hope will overcome soon.
The battle for the king of streaming platforms has been a win for fans, especially during the pandemic. While fans may have been unable to watch films at theaters, they enjoyed plenty of excellent films, including some new ones.
Streaming has redefined the film industry. While it has many benefits, the shift to the digital medium and internet-based viewing is not without risks. A few years ago, Sony was hacked, and over 100 terabytes of valuable data were stolen.
This shift to streaming format and digital archives puts both studios and fans in danger of cybercriminals looking to leverage data against victims. Whether it’s hacking studio executives or perpetuating DDoS attacks on streaming platforms, we need to take every step possible to thwart fraudsters.
Fans and studios alike need to improve their cybersecurity to mitigate these risks. Everyone should have and use essential security tools like auto-update and auto-backup software, VPNs, firewalls, and password managers to prevent the damage cyber-attacks can do. Don’t let a hack take your streaming account or computer down. Download anti-malware software and turn your firewall on. Check out this VPN free trial to find a VPN that’s compatible with your favorite platform.
The Streaming Wars have resulted in an explosion of new platforms. Last month, HBO released its new service, HBO Max. Apple, Disney, Warner, and NBC also now offer services. From Netflix, Hulu, and a handful of others a few years ago, it seems like everybody’s coming up with a new streaming service.
But competition isn’t always a win for either consumers or platforms. Consumers now see more and more of the content they enjoy getting spread across different platforms. Want to watch The Office? That’s no longer available on Netflix; you’ll have to pick up NBC’s service. The same goes for many other films and TV shows everyone loves.
Likewise, these wars put studios and platforms in a tough position. How long can some of them continue operating at a loss? And what’s going to happen to the content that we want to see?
Even before COVID-19 slashed box office pulls, there were fewer mid-budget theatrical releases. Sure, films like Endgame may pull in huge profits, but everything else seems to be disappearing.
Other than a few major releases, what’s to pull in fans the rest of the year. 2019 had a few exceptions like Knives Out and 1917, but it’s definitely a sign of changing times.
Some of these films, like The Irishman, can get picked up by streaming platforms. But what happens to the rest? Some movies need the cinema experience to be genuinely enjoyed. The film industry needs to work towards a better balance.
The film industry continues to experience challenges in inclusivity. The pace of change has been slow. As any awards ceremony demonstrates (with exceptions here and there), Hollywood still has a lot of catching up to do.
Within the industry, inequality is likewise a serious issue. While studios like Disney may rake in billions, there are hordes of entry-level workers who struggle to make ends meet. Now they are in an even more difficult position thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.
While new streaming platforms open up new opportunities, these inequality and inclusivity issues need to be addressed as soon as possible.
We are all hungry for great new content more than ever. With production studios shut for months and only now getting started again, it is a rare moment for the film industry.
Despite the challenges it has faced in the last few months, it will be able to adapt and evolve. At least all us cinema lovers hope so.
In the meantime, we’ll continue re-watching episodes of Breaking Bad and other great shows on Netflix and hope the film industry has what it takes to overcome the most challenging year in its history.