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Rotten Bananas: The Pandemic Movie Industry

The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on nearly every facet of life from our education to our healthcare. One area of life that has been hit in a particularly special way is the TV and film industry. 

The most obvious on-the-ground way that the film industry has been hit has been with the closing of movie theaters throughout the world. With the theaters closed, there is no reason to make movies because a large part of your revenue comes from a percentage of movie ticket sales. Certain movie magnates have come up with interesting solutions.  

In our modern era, the invention of the “streaming service” has been an invaluable asset to the film industry especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many movie production companies have made a compromise with various streaming services by offering their new films exclusively on their service. This unfortunately has caused those same services to charge a “rental fee” in addition to the fee you already pay for the service. These rental fees can often be much larger than the price of a typical movie theater ticket and this has become quite annoying for consumers. The biggest culprit of this has been Disney with the release of “Raya and the Last Dragon” or “Mulan.” Hopefully, the poor performance by these two movies is interpreted as “consumers not putting up with additional fees” and not “these movies are just not good.” 

The film industry has been affected at all levels. Many TV shows over the past year have utilized elements from everyday life to show us the kinds of things they are dealing with in terms of health and safety regulations related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Writers in particular have to be careful with the kinds of things they write about because of the stressful nature of the time. They need to make sure they write supportive or educational storylines about the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. TV shows made during pandemic time often have background characters wearing masks. There are a few standouts that even had main characters in masks and had the actors act more with their bodies to show they are talking. Another factor that affects the film industry is the concept of the “bubble.” Until the advent of the COVID-19 vaccines, many filming schedules included a system similar to organized sports where actors and production staff could only have contact with other people in the production and had everything provided for them by producers. This process was more expensive, but it keeps TV and film productions on schedule rather than constantly derailed by quarantine after quarantine. 

Throughout time, the strength and perseverance of the arts has allowed humanity to get through tough times like the COVID-19 pandemic. The film industry has made every effort to keep us entertained through these times and we should all be thankful by supporting both national film work and local filmmakers. 

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