By: Jane Wilde
It’s no shock to say that COVID-19 affected many lives and industries, notably film. After three years of grasping at straws, a film industry comeback is not underway. Theaters reopened after over a year of being shut down during the pandemic, and box office revenue was down 76% and remains down 47% from 2019. Following the pandemic’s prohibition of ticket sales, quarantining also resulted in many postponed productions for major companies like Paramount and Warner Bros, setting back the film industry significantly. In addition, fewer films are produced as prices become increasingly costly. For many companies, it’s cheaper to send their films over to a streaming service, ultimately leading to fewer ticket sales at the box office.
Another sign of the industry’s decline is the lack of creativity in present-day films. Today, we often see repetitive sequels and live-action reimagined classics. Don’t get me wrong, many are exceptional, especially with all the advanced CGI and high production value. However, I’m also not eagerly running to theaters to watch another Fast and Furious 12.
Like me, many viewers are tired of watching the same general plotlines and crave an innovative, new, and compelling story to appreciate. Actor and public figure Ryan Reynolds advocates against the excessive sequel dilemma at the UK comedy convention asking, “Does everything have to be a sequel?” Reynolds elaborated saying, “There’s a bit of a push and pull, resisting the urge to just immediately say, ‘Ohh, doing a sequel will validate the first one.’” The urge he’s referring to speaks to many large film companies and their need for constant sequel production. This need is one of the major causes for the industry’s demise as sequels eventually appeal less to the general public.
When we think of well-made, family movies, it’s likely Disney comes to mind. Despite their successes, the last few years haven’t been looking good for them. Some post-COVID Disney flops include 2022’s Buzz Lightyear remake, Elemental, and Onward, which all brought limited profits to the film company. It’s evident from these poor profits that Disney’s attempt at a creative, appealing non-sequel, failed.
Streaming services’ popularity has gone up drastically since the pandemic, starting at an estimated 1.1 billion subscriptions in 2020 and is expected to hit 2 billion subscribers this year. After COVID-19, people were acclimated to staying in, and streaming services became a staple. Now, three whole years later, the majority of us are watching movies at home and staying away from theaters. Through the excessive blockbuster sequels, streaming services popularity on the rise, and a declining rate of revenue by 10.2% per year, the film industry is approaching the end of its dominating relevance. However, this issue isn’t completely inevitable. In order for the industry to go back to its usual thriving state, writers must introduce original and compelling plotlines as well as limit the production of needless sequels.
(Sources: BBC, Exploding Topics, The New Daily)