The Pandemic Changed How We Watch Movies And It's Not Going Back Anytime Soon

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The arrival of the No Time To Die in two weeks feels like something of a milestone in the ongoing state of flux that is film distribution. The latest James Bond is hardly the first of 2020’s delayed blockbusters to finally hit screens–F9: The Fast Saga, Black Widow, Jungle Cruise, and A Quiet Place: Part 2 all finally reached theaters this year. But with an original release date of April 2020, No Time To Die was one of the first films to be delayed, and the 18 months between that date and its final US debut on October 8 will be the longest wait for any major movie in the COVID era. It’s also a period of time that has seen previously unthinkable shifts in the way Hollywood distributes films and how audiences consume them.

One year ago, GameSpot published this article, which tracked the events of 2020 so far, and made some predictions for what would happen next. At that stage, there were still several big movies lined up for theatrical releases in the final three months of the year. Ultimately, none of these arrived as expected–Wonder Woman 1984 debuted on HBO Max at the same time as the theaters that managed to remain open at Christmas, while Soul was sent straight to streaming. Free Guy was pushed deep into 2021, and Coming 2 America was sold off to Amazon and released months later. With no vaccine at that point and a second (or third) wave of COVID-19 about to hit many countries, the future seemed as unpredictable as at any stage of the pandemic.

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In early December, Warner drew a line in the sand with the shock announcement that it would send every single movie on its 2021 slate to HBO Max on the same day they hit theaters. This wasn’t just the films expected in the coming few months, such as Wonder Woman 1984, Godzilla vs. Kong, and Mortal Kombat. It was also hugely anticipated movies that weren’t due until the end of 2021–such as Dune and The Matrix Resurrections–when the world might conceivably be a very different place.

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Source: Game Spot Mashup