When can I expect the next season of The Witcher?: COVID-19’s impact on the film industry

Photo by Darien Funk

As a result of the COVID-19 lockdown, streaming services like Netflix saw a massive influx of users worldwide, claiming an all-time high for their subscription numbers in 2020’s first quarter.  

This was to be expected when people had nothing else to do but stay home and watch TV. But after the initial shock of COVID-19, we are left to wonder what is going to happen to the new seasons [of] our favourite Netflix shows and how people are going to get new entertainment content. 

My family and I enjoyed quarantine because we were able to watch movies like The Godfather on a whim one Sunday afternoon, and start new shows that we had been meaning to watch. However, after binging some new shows like The Witcher, Glow, and Stranger Things, we’re left hopeless of a new season anytime soon. While various film and television productions halted in March, several have yet to pick back up. 

But this is understandable. Even though film and television production teams are eager to get back out there, the health and safety of everyone involved is a priority, and it looks like productions are going to be very stop-and-go with COVID-19 still around. 

The production of The Batman starring Robert Pattinson, started back up at the beginning of September but quickly paused when a person involved, supposedly Pattinson himself, tested positive for the virus. Yet, Warner Bros. announced on Sept. 17 that production would be starting once again.  

COVID-19 is causing a slow burn for film and television productions, but hopefully, returning to safe sets will help kickstart the entertainment industry and adapt to finding better ways to return to work during the pandemic. 

With the recent release of a second season of Netflix’s Umbrella Academy, I haven’t lost complete faith in new entertainment during the pandemic. As Netflix announces productions for The Witcher season two, Stranger Things season four, and the Ryan Reynold’s-starring Red Notice, I have some faith that Netflix will reach their promise of more Netflix originals in 2021 than 2020.  

Even though we’re all influenced to stay home, the film and television industry is more than just streaming services. While in-person movie theatres were forced to shut down and economically suffer alongside other businesses, it’s not the end for the silver screen. 

With the majority of Canada in a Stage 3 situation, Canadian movie-goers have gotten a sneak peek of new movies before they were released to U.S. markets. The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the RunUnhinged, and Tenet were released to Canadian cinemas in August due to the fact that most Canadian theatres were open and running as efficiently as possible.  

Even though theatres have limits of 50 people, US studios were able to use Canadian cinemas as a test run to make better decisions for promotional budgets (i.e. should the film be released in theatres or straight to online rental?) While we might feel special for finally being the ones to get the early releases first, it’s ultimately a very smart marketing strategy for production companies.  

Critics further say that streaming services won’t beat out the big screen because productions make more off the sale of a movie ticket than a subscription to a streaming service. So even though cinemas aren’t what they used to be, they’re still profitable businesses. 

Having said this, it will be interesting to see in the coming year who is able to get back into production, which movies will hit the big screen, and how streaming services like Netflix, plan to make more content. 

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