Text by Zoe Mathers

The closing of movie theatres due to COVID-19 has been one of the many brutal attacks on the entertainment industry, but slowly, they are adapting to this obscure version of life we are living and alternative forms of enjoying entertainment are introduced.

Disney’s, Onward, had a short life in theatres as they were shut down soon after its release to enforce social distancing. However, the movie went straight to digital and Disney+ on April 3rd. Many other movies whose theatre time got chopped in half are doing the same thing, releasing onto digital for early renting access. This not only keeps the industry afloat during these trying times but offers a source of entertainment for everyone stuck at home.

What about the films set to premiere now?

Home premieres have turned up on platforms such as iTunes and Google Play Movies, allowing people to rent brand new releases that should have been in theatres by this point for a price higher than a movie ticket. This can be a great opportunity for family movie night and a chance to support the entertainment industry.

Home premieres are not the only way the industry is attempting to make up for the devastating amount of money lost, but drive-in theatres have suddenly escalated in popularity. According to CNBC, only 5-10% out of the 303 American drive-in theatres have benefited from COVID-19, but it is still good news. [1]Drive-in theatres allow people to watch new releases or old favourites while socially distancing in their cars. Not only is this a great way for the industry to continue sharing new releases, but it supports the local drive-in theatres that were struggling before the pandemic. It is a small glimmer of positivity amongst this all.

Movie and TV streaming platforms like Netflix are skyrocketing with viewers, especially with Netflix’s new Chrome extension, Netflix Party. By searching “Netflix Party” on Chrome and downloading the extension to your computer, you can watch a TV show or movie with your friend at the same time. No more “1, 2, 3 Play!” and hoping you and your friend clicked the play button at the same time because with Netflix Party, when you hit play or pause on your own screen, it does the same to theirs. Now, movie night with friends becomes a whole lot easier.

There has been a massive surge in YouTube views lately too but a decline in revenue for its creators. With brands reeling back on contracts and Google ads plummeting due to COVID-19, YouTube creators are not benefiting too much from their rising view counts. Luckily, there are lots of ways to support creators who need it because for some, this is their full-time job. Most YouTubers have merch or a Patreon so consider looking into that and lending a hand to your favourite creator.

It only makes sense that as Netflix and YouTube gain even more popularity than they held before, that the gaming industry is rising right up there with them. On May 20, 2020, around the time social distancing became strictly enforced globally, Nintendo Switch released an old favourite of many: Animal Crossing. According to GeekWire, Animal Crossing has already claimed the position for the second best-selling game in the U.S. and Nintendo Switches have unsurprisingly sold out in most stores. With everyone stuck inside, people have found the game to be a great distraction from the chaos of the real world. The social simulation game involves taking care of your island and growing it; this includes paying mortgages, catching fish, picking fruit, and other mundane tasks. It offers that sense of normalcy we once had and not to mention, it is an entertaining and addictive way to keep busy.

While the entertainment industry is adapting to the pandemic and humanity’s forced quarantine, the repercussions will still be felt when we finally emerge from it. Consider helping the industry to ensure it does not crumble. There are so many easy ways to do so without leaving your house. Here are just a few ways:

  • Rent new releases
  • Share your thoughts on new movies, creators, and games through social media
  • Buy gift cards online to your favourite movie theatre
  • Check out a drive-in theatre near you
  • Subscribe to a streaming platform like Netflix, Disney+, or Hulu

If you can help, I encourage you to do so. The entertainment industry is doing what it can to keep us all entertained during these hard times. And helping is as easy as watching that movie or TV show on your Netflix list or posting a movie review on your blog. Together, we can hold up this industry we depend on and carry it out of this pandemic.

[1] Drive-in theatres are making a comeback, see CNBC’s article for more: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/29/social-distancing-phenom-drive-ins-boom-as-movie-theaters-close.html