Covid-19 Has Changed the Way We Watch Movies

Caleb Faulkerson, Staff Writer

     Since man first harnessed the power of the movie camera, films have played an integral role in entertainment and society as a whole. During the World Wars, films helped to bolster the resolve of warring nations, and, for better or worse, allowed regimes to sway the minds of their denizens like never before. And in the wake of those horrid wars, even under the shroud of the Cold War, men like Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and George Lucas used film as a means to quite literally project their visions to the masses and redefined the entertainment industry in doing so.

     Similarly, in 2021, we find ourselves in the midst of a viral cold war of sorts; a great arms-race between the dreaded coronavirus and medical specialists seeking to save lives and eradicate the plague. But even today, as in the latter half of the 20th century, creative visionaries persist in their missions to bring new films to the masses. Even though, in the words of Gus Abbruzzese, theatrical releases for these upcoming films “depend on the health conditions,” many are justly hyped for what’s to come. 

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     At present, many individuals, including Hannah Fidler-Leon, feel that online, cinematic streaming is more sensible. Even so, it appears that film-lovers can expect some films to have hybrid online-theatre releases. “With films such as The Green Knight, Fordlandia, and Denis Villeneuve’s Dune slated for release this year,” Abbruzzese went on to say, “same-day streaming is likely to be more prevalent; we can already see how powerful streaming sites have recently become.” Additionally, in Fidler’s eyes, “home-viewing will likely continue en masse, at least until normalcy returns.” 

     In the words of Mike Kuykendall, a Film Studies teacher here at Woodson, “We will see the cinema industry shift into categories.  There will likely be high-end cinemas with reserved seating and food delivery and lower-tier “dollar” movie theaters like University Mall.” With cinema industry insiders like Mr. Kuykendall being of this opinion, it is fair to say that the film industry truly is changing. 

     With the world in the midst of a global pandemic, this change is clearly justified and is for the best.  However, it must be noted that a film is a film regardless of how it is viewed.   And although all films are prone to errors, individuals like Abbruzzese remain at the edge of their seats for what’s to come, regardless of digital or theatrical releases. But until the highly anticipated films of this year release, there will be plenty of chances to get the popcorn popping and the hype trains chugging further and further along.