Covid and the boom in streaming platforms are being touted as a huge threat to cinema-going. But so was telly. And surely we’re all desperate to leave the house and make a big social occasion of it all?
So are we in or out? Is this going to be the old normal or some new normal that the business still hasn’t yet grasped? As we look forward to what’s on offer in cinemas this autumn, we see new films mixed in with a deja-vu raft of old product delayed from the distant “before times” of pre-Covid. These films are beginning to feel like pizzas removed from the freezer cabinet, thawed out, and then unhygienically put back in the freezer. And of course we are all still absorbing the fact that Covid conforms neither to the accepted news cycles or movie distribution release structures. There could still be a fourth or a fifth wave. Cinemas could still be shut down again.
Covid might have changed the movie world temporarily or permanently or not at all, but as we fret fruitlessly about the discomfort of wearing masks in cinemas, the revolution could have already arrived in the new economy of streaming – which had been changing the game anyway.