It has been more than a year ever since; the novel Coronavirus pandemic has uprooted the normal working circumstances of the entertainment industry and everybody in general. Just when the records of box-office receipts were augmenting and twining with the pre-pandemic mark, the mutant Delta Variant fiddled with the progress. Unarguably, the entertainment projects will get further delayed to other extended deadlines. And with this afoot, already starving streaming platforms and theatres will witness significant content drought.
Over the course of the last weekend, the domestic box office has peaked at as much as $98.7 million in ticket sales. Universal’s ‘F9’ catapulting the collection with the highest opening weekend of any film released during the pandemic. Reportedly, it hauled approximately $70 million contributing a substantial chunk in the totality of the gross earnings. Also, not to miss, opening up of the theatres, precisely 80% across the US entwined with laid-back Corona appropriate behaviour and studio’s stand-tall attitude of the theatrical release of blockbusters. It seemed quite likely that the industry was booming at the erstwhile scale.
But as the highly contagious variant takes its toll further aggravated by dilatory vaccination drive in selected communities, the entertainment industry is expected to feel the tremors of the callousness in the coming future. Or perhaps it already as.
The frozen entertainment industry
The number of projects pushed to deadlock has been rising for quite some time. For starters, the much-anticipated HBO’s smash-hit Game of Throne’s spinoff, House of Dragon was plunged to suspension as many of the crew members were tested positive. Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible 7, Hulu’s comedy ‘Woke’, ‘God is a Bullet’ starring Jamie Foxx and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and uncountable more were briefly halted on similar accounts.
In response to this grievous outlook, the studios and union have framed a consensus on allowing production support to only sets that require inoculations for those working in the vicinity to actors. Netflix has confirmed the same.
Taking this trend further, as per the Deadline report, Sean Penn declined to resume the filming of the TV series ‘Gaslit’ until the whole crew and cast got jabbed. Many believe that this fashion of rejection of filming until the safety of the artist is affirmed will witness a continuous ascension, till the Delta variant’s havoc flattens.
OTT and the constant content scarcity
Despite, more than half of the US population having received at least one dose of the vaccine, the resurgence of fresh strain-associated cases are spiking at an alarming rate. More so, the reflection of this probable worsening pandemic third wave is visible not only domestically but internationally too. In a serosurvey so conducted, it was reported that close to 25% of the new caseload in the US accounted for the Delta variant. Whereas, in many other nations, the empirical was pegged at 50% for this variant.
Albeit, the OTT platforms were sweeping the boards and mushrooming in the wake of the pandemic last year; are now experiencing stagnation. Netflix reported a decline in its North American subscribers in Q2 (from 73.95 million to 43 million only). They pointed the fingers at seasonality and engaging content starvation.
With another hard blow by the virus on the economies, the only resort is an efficient vaccination drive and religious heeding of covid protocols.
Stay Masked. Stay Safe.