The film industry is undergoing major changes as it is impacted by the pandemic

George Mitchell’s family owned a movie theater in Niantic, Connecticut, which was forced to close after the incident. The Covid-19 pandemic led to a significant decline in business.

“When the pandemic hit, our business dropped to zero,” Mitchell said. “That was the end.”

But while COVID-19 has dealt a final blow to some theaters like the Mitchells, streaming has already had to shift. The film industry is currently undergoing major changes as writers strike and the business grapples with the impact of streaming services, as well as the lingering effects of the pandemic.

The 95th Academy Awards will be held this weekend, where “Everybody, Everywhere, All At Once” and “The Fablemen” will compete with blockbusters like “Top Gun: Maverick” for Best Picture.

But even as the motion picture industry lags behind, box office ticket sales are down about 35% from pre-pandemic levels — unsustainable for smaller theaters, says entertainment journalist Matt Belloni.

“The post-Covid result is we’re seeing the box office concentrated in fewer movies, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Top Gun: Maverick, Avatar: The Last Airbender,” Belloni said. “But it’s the middle and lower levels that are still struggling.”

Last year’s top 10 films at the box office were all sequels or prequels, he said, “which worries many moviegoers who want more mature, serious films to do well in theaters, so studios have an incentive to put them there.”

One such film is Dallas Buyers Club, an independent film in 2013 that earned Matthew McConaughey a Best Actor Oscar and producer Rachel Winter a Best Picture nomination.

Winter said streaming movies have made movies that were traditionally limited to only a handful of theaters available to a larger audience.

“The good news is, there’s a lot of opportunity to tell different stories with access to content and access to content creation,” Winter said.

But he still laments the shrinking of the cinema.

“Well, I like to be on the couch, in my pajamas, watching movies,” he said. “I enjoy it as much as the next person. But I want to go to the movies.”

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