Film Festivals

The Future of Movies in 2021

2020 saw the transformation of the film industry. No longer were people buying movie tickets at AMC Theaters. Instead, movie theaters were left empty. But what people were buying were streaming services. Apps like Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Netflix garnered more popularity and viewership since March’s initial quarantine. So, what does this mean for movie rollouts of 2021?

So Long, Theaters

AMC has 'substantial doubt' it can survive coronavirus shutdown
(Courtesy of CNBC – Movies in 2021)

The obligatory seat-search in a pitch-black theater may be a thing of the past. Theaters have been closing due to the pandemic. As a result, few movies released this past year. It’s very likely that if the pandemic persists, even fewer films will be shown through AMC and other similar theaters.

So, will viewers succumb to multiple streaming services? It seems that movie watchers already have. People are still wary about the safety of theaters. Plus, the cost of Hulu for a family is much cheaper than four movie tickets. But these services add up. Netflix alone can cost as much as $18/month.

But, every platform also produces original movies— intriguing customers to own multiple streaming services. The increase in quality, original content from these apps also draws more viewers. It also led to the growing disinterest in Hollywood films. Hollywood continues to produce sequels and reboots while streaming services expose customers to new actors and content.

Summer Blockbusters or Busted Summer?

Everyone knows summertime is the time for movies. Films expected to reap massive success tend to be released during these months. Lately, Marvel has taken over the season with its numerous blockbusters, last seen with “Spiderman: Far From Home.” But where does the summer blockbuster stand as movie theaters continue to struggle financially?

Drive-in movie theaters' coronavirus comeback: Stay safe and have fun
(Courtesy of USA Today – Movies in 2021)

Drive-in theaters may continue to see a resurgence. With traditional theaters closing their doors, drive-ins found limited competition for consumers. Plus, it remains a safe alternative while coronavirus cases continue to rise. The US is slowly administering vaccines, but aren’t meeting the initial projection of 20 million vaccinated Americans—reaching only over 4.2 million according to NPR.

HBO Max to Stream Every 2021 Warner Bros Movie on Release Day
(Courtesy of Los Angeles Magazine – Movies in 2021)

Popular movies are also finding comfort in streaming services. Most recently, DC partnered with HBO Max to premiere their movies on the website. The long-awaited Wonder Woman sequel, “WW84”, debuted on Christmas Day. Similarly, viewers watched Disney’s “Soul” on Disney Plus. The use of major films on streaming services is a great way to have a sense of community, especially seen on social media. For example, “Soul” has produced memes online, similar to Netflix’s “Birdbox” in 2018. But, blockbusters’ heightened availability also gives greater access to critique. “WW84” faced this through numerous accounts taking to social media to discuss their disappointment with the follow-up to the 2017 hit.

And The Awards Go To…

This month brings the start of Hollywood’s awards season—with the IFP Gotham Awards ceremony leading the pack on Jan. 11. Shortly following are nominations for the SAG Awards, Critics Choice Awards, and Writers Guild of America Awards. But with the limited access to films, what winners will grace the stage?

2021 Oscar Predictions - Best Picture
(Courtesy of Variety)

Anticipate more streamed movies to be nominated. Netflix’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” garnered Oscar buzz following its release. Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman’s performances were highly celebrated. Following the positive response from “Soul”, award nominations should also follow for the animated film.

But traditional Hollywood films aren’t lacking in praise, either. As one of the few released movies of the season, “Tenet” is projected to be a contender in major award shows. Director Lee Isaac Chung should expect nominations for his acclaimed film, “Minari” as well. Chung’s autobiographical project already won two awards from the Sundance Film Festival. So stay tuned for what may be one of the most interesting film seasons the industry has seen thus far.

cover photo change4media

About author


Brianna Ormond is a senior at Rutgers University as a Journalism and Media Studies major, Political Science and Africana Studies double minor. She enjoys listening to music and binging Netflix in her spare time.
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