Omicron brings back the specter of a major loss to the global film industry

Will history repeat itself and doors close again? Hollywood filmmakers and executives are worried about the massive spread of the new mutated “Omicron” from the coronavirus.

After two years of closure and a collapsed box office, and once the global film industry began to catch its breath and try to recover, it is approaching average old box office revenues due to the strong performance of films such as No Time to Die, Dune and Venom Venom: Let There Be Carnage, then this mutation has spread causing panic that may cause moviegoers to flee to the safety of their homes away from mixing situations.

This coincided with the holiday season where “Thanksgiving” and Christmas and the accompanying holidays, and the release of new films awaited, betting on their owners to reap a lot of profits.

As for what made matters more disturbing, many European countries started to return the closure procedures, as soon as the mutant Omicron was announced and its spread began.

We know what we’re doing

However, the veteran producers soon announced that, after going through the first three waves of “Covid-19”, they knew what they had to do to keep things running as planned, relying on safety protocols that had been implemented since the beginning of the epidemic and allowed studios to continue producing films even during A wave of infection caused by a variable delta last fall.

This is how we witnessed last December the release of films such as “Spider-Man: No Way Home”, which achieved – so far – revenues of $ 1.625 billion, becoming the most profitable last year, whether for Sony releases or series. Spider-Man” and most importantly, the highest profit since the beginning of the pandemic.

There are works that have been presented despite the fears that their makers do not have the luxury of postponing them due to the relatively large budgets that these films incurred: “The King’s Man”, “The Matrix Resurrections” and “Singing Amateurs 2” ( Sing 2).

first victim

Previous films have achieved good revenues, perhaps not the best, but at least they did not inflict losses on their owners, and according to the figures, the Omicron variable has had little impact on the audience’s desire to return to cinemas.

For its part, the Disney studios decided to show the new Disney-Pixar animated movie “Turning Red” on the “Disney Plus” platform on March 11 directly, without first showing it in theaters as scheduled.

This was explained by the statement issued by the Walt Disney Company for media and entertainment distribution, explaining that the film will be shown during the period of increasing spread of the Omicron boom, and that given the slow recovery at the box office, especially for family films, it was necessary to deal flexibly with regard to distribution decisions. The priority is getting premium content to an audience all over the world.

Coincidence or intentional exclusion?

Once Disney announced that the finger was pointing at her, this isn’t the first Pixar work that doesn’t hit the theaters, it’s been preceded by two others. And the balance of what was shown to Pixar on the big screen during the pandemic becomes two animated films, “Soul” in 2020 and “Luca” in 2021, while Disney has shown many films, the animations among which were “Raya and the Last Dragon.” (Raya and the Last Dragon), “Encanto”.

As much as these decisions have frustrated theater owners who rely on family films to maintain an acceptable level of revenue, industry watchers have interpreted this situation as “Disney Plus” needs to increase the number of subscribers, which can only be achieved by targeting families with content and attractive content .

Jeff Bock, a box office analyst at Exhibition Relations, said that because of the current global situation, choosing what a producer to bet and pitch is like a daring game of chess in which they have to play their best piece.

Cry in theaters

Omicron has also made his mark on global festivals, as the entertainment industry has responded by canceling, postponing or adjusting events.

For example, the Sundance Film Festival will be held virtually for the second year in a row, as it will be held in attendance in the same place, but will be shown via the Internet between January 20-30.

The main theatrical release scheduled for its first showing in 2022 has also diminished, as Disney decided to show the movie “Deep Water” directly on the “Hulu” platform, and “Morbius” was postponed to next April and “Black Phone” ( The Black Phone) to June.

The only remaining major release that has survived this massacre is the fifth part of the “Scream” series, which began showing two days ago and has so far earned $30 million.

Its makers justified its cinematic presentation by saying that the work calls for displaying on a large screen, and watching it in light of sound and visual effects that make the experience more complete.

Loans threaten the sustainability of Bollywood

As for the cinema in Bollywood, it was also affected, and according to film producer Girish Gohar, the recent wave of Covid affected the cinema sector significantly. As things began to improve, several major works such as “Radhe Shyam” were postponed due to Omicron.

Despite the increased interest on loans used to finance the production of ready-made films, it has been postponed, and filmmakers will soon review costs and put aside large-budget projects, which will consequently affect the quality of films presented in the future.

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