Hollywood is shooting in Australia, Chinese blockbusters are topping the cinema charts, the US market is collapsing: COVID is changing the film industry.
Hollywood now shooting Down Under
Australia has the virus largely under control. That’s pulling in filmmakers. Netflix, Disney Plus and Amazon are not shooting in Hollywood, but in Australia. According to the agency Ausfilm, which supports international film productions, 37 US film projects have been outsourced to the country. Stars like Matt Damon and Nicole Kidman are working in the Land of Oz.
The rise of streaming
Warner Bros. will distribute its new films not only in cinemas, but also through streaming. At least 17 films will simultaneously be released in theaters and on the HBO Max portal in 2021, including “Judas and the Black Messiah” (picture), the “Sopranos” sequel “The Many Saints of Newark” and the superhero film “The Suicide Squad”. Cinema operators are worried about the future of their theaters.
China dominates the cinema market
For the first time in 2020, two Chinese blockbusters made more money in the box office than US films. The war film “The Eight Hundred” (picture) and another Chinese production, the comedy “Love You Forever,” brought in more than $2 billion, according to the Hollywood Reporter. In China, the cinemas are open, even if only with a capacity of 50 percent.
Collapse of the US market
Hollywood has recorded financial losses, and less high-profile productions have entered the race for the Oscars on April 25, 2021. Many films from Netflix and Amazon are in the race.
German films in New York
Five German arthouse films were due to open in New York cinemas in 2021, including “Berlin Alexanderplatz” by Burhan Qurbani (picture) or the migrant drama “Exile.” Now they have to assert themselves online. The films are part of the “Kino! Germany Now!” selection promoted by the German Film Office. Supported by the Goethe-Institute, the initiative aims to increase the visibility of German films.
‘Bridgerton’ and COVID?
After season 1 of “Bridgerton” topped the Netflix charts in 83 countries and was streamed by 82 million households — more than ever before — a sequel is now due. Since the series is based on many intimate scenes, Phoebe Dynevor, actress of Daphne Bridgerton, has great doubts that a second season can be filmed under current hygiene rules.
Rescheduling for the Berlinale
The first major European film festival, which traditionally takes place in Berlin at the end of January / beginning of February, is being remodeled and rescheduled. Industry professionals will meet digitally in March, when the competition will also run. The award ceremony is planned for June, when the Berlin audience can watch the films. But only if the pandemic is contained by then.
James Bond in October
The latest James Bond adventure, “No Time to Die,” has been postponed again due to the coronavirus pandemic. The new theatrical release should now be October 8, 2021, according to the US production studio MGM. What is probably Daniel Craig’s last outing as 007 has been pushed back by a year.
Films in the waiting room
The film year 2021 will be different. Because many film releases have been postponed due to closed theaters, cinephiles could possibly expect a concentrated selection from spring or mid-2021. In addition to the new Bond film, the Marvel film “Black Widow” with Scarlett Johansson (picture) as well as the sequel to “Top Gun” with Tom Cruise are on hold.
The Cannes Film Festival, which should have been held in May, has been postponed by two months, to July 6-17, 2021. In 2020 it was canceled due to the pandemic. The organizers only published a list of 56 films that they included in the official selection and held a symbolic “mini-festival” in October.
Already in 2020, there were documentaries about the outbreak of the pandemic in Wuhan. Now there will be a new contribution in 2021. “In the Same Breath” by Nanfu Wang (“Land of Only Children”) tells of misinformation and misconduct on the part of the Chinese and US governments with regard to COVID-19.