Coronavirus and Hollywood: TV production shut down, some movies shift to streaming

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Elisabeth Moss in the film “The Invisible Man,” soon to be available on streaming. Photo credit: Universal Pictures

With television production halted over coronavirus concerns, industry leaders are trying to figure out what to do next. Some cable series like “Fargo” have delayed the premiere of upcoming seasons because the show hadn’t finished shooting when the shutdown happened. On the broadcast side, there’s even more panic for fear that the networks won’t be able to debut shows in time for the fall season, which would mean hundreds of millions of ad dollars lost. 

Many writers’ rooms are still meeting virtually, so scripts are being stockpiled. There’s just no way to produce them.

On the movie side, Universal made an unprecedented move when the studio announced it’d be releasing the newest “Trolls” movie directly to streaming in April, since most movie theaters are closed. They’ll also make three very recent theatrical releases available to stream starting March 20: “The Invisible Man,” “The Hunt,” and “Emma.” That’s months earlier than the original streaming release dates.  

While it may be a band-aid for the moment, don’t expect other big upcoming releases like “Fast & Furious 9” to go the straight-to-streaming route. The studios have invested too much money to gamble on enough families paying $20 to rent a movie at home for 48 hours -- when there are streaming services with hundreds of movies available for much less than that per month. 



Kaitlin Parker