Life, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Movie business reeling from impact of pandemic

Previously Spanish Flu impacted cinema sector on such similar scale, says expert

Seda Sevencan   | 16.05.2020
Movie business reeling from impact of pandemic

ANKARA

The cinema sector has been hit hard by the coronavirus lockdown measures as shootings had to be put on hold, according to experts.

Previously, the Spanish Flu, which emerged at the end of World War I and killed nearly 50 million people globally within 18 months, impacted the cinema sector on a similar scale, said Yusuf Ziya Gokcek, a lecturer for Cinema Studies at Istanbul's Marmara University.

Gokcek said that in this period, which corresponded to the years when Hollywood started exporting movies, shootings could not be done for a long time. Thus, the countries exporting a large number of films, especially the US, experienced a pause in the movie sector.

“The effect of Spanish Flu caused a decrease in the production of movies and ratings more than World War I,” he added.

Many countries, regions, and cities are currently in lockdown, with public places shut and movement limited to curb the spread of the epidemic.

The release of big-budget movies such as the latest James Bond film No Time to Die and Fast and Furious 9, as well as film festivals have been canceled one by one. The shootings of new movies are halted, while movie theaters are closed in order to avoid the crowds.

“The financial loss of the cinema sector in the first 15 days of March is nearly $5 billion,” said Gokcek.

“This figure also appears to be doubled as the cost of movies is not currently shown.”

Cinema after lockdown

“I look on the bright side. This chaotic situation would bring a lot of film stories to the cinema. Thus, many movies about this period will be shot. Of course, if anyone can write and shoot,” Ege Ellidokuzoglu, a filmmaker and lecturer at Uskudar University, told Anadolu Agency.

Ellidokuzoglu said that he believes after the period more movies will be shot and watched.

He added: "Amid the pandemic, how many scientific articles in the field of medicine have been published internationally. Similarly, original plots and films would be produced from our cinema.”

Gokcek dispelled rumors about the "death of cinema" after the pandemic, saying images and modernity are closely connected.

Gokcek stressed that after the period the cinema sector would shake hands with live streaming platforms to guarantee the display of products or big distributors of the sector would attempt to establish their live streaming platforms.

Underlining that the negative effect of this may be for film directors to be compelled to a standard to suit the tastes of production companies, he added, "this means that a creative cinema language has less chance.”

Both Ellidokuzoglu and Gokcek agreed that a transition to open-air cinemas may occur.

Moreover, theatres might feel the necessity to reopen with different seating styles and more people will watch movies on digital streaming platforms.

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