- Posted: March 20, 2020
The global COVID-19 pandemic seems to be wreaking havoc on just about everything. From businesses moving to remote work, restaurants closing, and stocks crashing, we are all feeling the effects in our everyday life. With calls from President Trump and the CDC to limit all gatherings to ten people or less, the film industry is also taking a big hit.
Not only are theaters around the country temporarily closing, but film festivals are being canceled, and movie releases postponed. Earlier this week AMC, the largest theater chain in the United States, announced they would be closing their doors for an unknown period of time. AMC’s CEO Adam Aron said, “The health and wellbeing of AMC guests and employees, and of all Americans, takes precedence above all else. We will continue to monitor this situation very closely and look forward to the day we can again delight moviegoers nationwide by reopening AMC movie theatres.”
Similarly, Regal announced on its website that beginning Tuesday, March 17 they would be closing all of their United States locations “until further notice.”
With theaters uncertain of when they will reopen, production companies have hit pause on the release of new movies. From Disney’s Mulan, Paramount’s A Quiet Place II, and Lionsgate’s The Climb, all movie releases scheduled up through July have been postponed with new dates “to be determined.”
Year after year, independent filmmakers and large production firms long await film festivals where they can showcase their latest work. Unfortunately, just like most everything else, these gatherings have also been affected by COVID-19. SXSW, scheduled to take place this week from March 13 to March 22, was canceled for the first time in 34 years. This decision was made earlier in the month after Austin, Texas was declared a local disaster by its Mayor, Steve Adler.
Another notable affected event is the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), scheduled to host its 46th year beginning May 14 and running until June 7. In a release, SIFF told the public, “The looming uncertainty of this crisis, and the huge amount of work that would have to be done now, makes it impossible to continue as scheduled.” They have also placed a majority of their staff on furlough, and will be on a hiatus for the next few months.