This article was originally published in the October, 2020 edition of the East Brunswick High School newspaper “The Clarion”.
Since March, everything has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the film and theatre industries are no exception. Many movies – including No Time To Die, Black Widow, The Green Knight, and Dune – were supposed to be released in 2020 but have had their release dates moved to 2021. As a result, theaters have been hit very hard. AMC missed bankruptcy by a hair, while Regal Cinemas fully closed their doors. Worst of all, privately owned indie theaters have been devastated because they do not have the luxury of a large chain behind them. Though some movie productions such as Jurassic World: Domination and The Batman have pushed through, they still were halted due to the cast and crew contracting the virus.
So with the film industry struggling, what movie options do people have while at home? The obvious answer is streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and other similar services. Some well regarded new releases include Da 5 Bloods, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, Shirley, The Devil All The Time, and Palm Springs. In many ways, being stuck at home never seemed more appealing.
Among the delays and releases going straight to digital, one movie that was determined to have a theatre release was Christopher Nolan’s Tenet. Tenet was seen by many as the movie that would reopen cinemas, and in a way it did. As COVID guidelines became looser, theaters began to open up again by either showing screenings of older films along with newer ones. EBHS Senior Jessie Lieberman was one of the few brave souls willing to venture into theatres to see the new Nolan film. “I was a bit uneasy about it. Though, I was shortly reassured … everyone was required to wear a mask … all the reserved seats were spaced out to ensure social distancing protocols were followed. They also … thoroughly clean[ed] the theater after each show … it was a lot different … but I still got to enjoy the movie and feel safe while doing it.”
Like Jessie, many people have been seeing Tenet after it’s delayed September opening, as it garnered $45.1 million domestically and $307.7 million worldwide. Even with Tenet’s surprise success given the theatre scene these days, many people are still hesitant to go to theaters. EBHS junior Marco DeBellis said “it doesn’t seem natural to me … maybe not able to eat your popcorn and sip on your soda, it’s not the same. The cinema used to be an interactive experience within the audience as well as with the picture. If it was dead silent during a horror, you’d sure be scared. If the audience was booming with laughter … For now, I’ve found comfort streaming movies from my living room.”
With each day, the movie industry and life in the US is slowly getting back to normal. While there are many entertainment options available to people in their homes, nothing can top the excitement of seeing a highly anticipated movie in the theater.