Streaming Content Running Out, Audiences May Get Nothing New For A Year

In a couple of months even streaming providers like Netflix are going to run out of new content to show you.

By Liana Keane | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

As the Coronavirus pandemic wears on with no end in sight, Hollywood is being thrown into chaos. Their hopes for things getting back to normal by the fall season are rapidly evaporating as evidenced by the recent decision to pull Tenet from the release schedule without setting a new date for its debut. Analysts are now predicting there will be no new movies released in theaters until January of 2021 at the earliest and many suggest it may not be until the summer of 2021.

It’s not just a problem of releasing the content Hollywood already has, it’s also a problem of producing new content. Productions which were trying to resume shooting are now suspending as various states like California re-tighten their Coronavirus restrictions. And that means for you, the consumer, in a couple of months even streaming providers like Netflix are going to run out of new content to show you… and they won’t have any more for at least a year.

Sure we’re getting The Umbrella Academy season 2 soon, but that’s only because they were nearly finished before the Coronavirus hit. Meanwhile The Witcher season 2 has had to pause, resume, and pause again on its productions multiple times now. Who knows when the new season of that series, or pretty much any series in production will be finished so that it can be released. If they can’t really start shooting heavily until January, it’s going to be a very very long wait.

Scene from The Umbrella Academy season 2

Most television shows and movies, whether streaming products or network ones, are in a similar state. Once The Umbrella Academy season 2, and the handful of shows like it that were nearly finished before the pandemic, airs there won’t be anything else new left to release.

Except of course, for all those theatrical movies Hollywood is holding on to.

Right now insiders claim everything is in a total panic on all sides. Hollywood would like to start releasing some of the movies they already have finished on streaming as a stopgap way to make money. Meanwhile movie theaters are playing hardball and threatening bans and in some cases even lawsuits if they do so. AMC has already banned Universal Pictures movies for their decision to stream Trolls World Tour. It’s a ban without any teeth though, given that AMC doesn’t have a way to show Universal’s movies widely anyway.

Something has to give here and I suspect what will give is that at some point, Hollywood will start releasing their theatricals on streaming.

Indeed WB is reportedly planning to do just that. They’ve announced they will release Zack Snyder’s Justice League direct to HBO Max, and most believe this is the first step towards releasing their bigger theatrical releases like Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max as well.

Those threats from movie theaters become less and less persuasive as a means to keep Hollywood from streaming their movies the longer things wear on. Rumors suggest that AMC has already told their employees to start preparing for them to go out of business. There seems to be virtually no way most movie theaters will be able to survive if they aren’t allowed to fully open until Summer of 2021. By then, those theaters will all be out of business.

Given the fact that movie theaters are probably done for no matter what happens, it makes no sense for Hollywood to listen to their demands. They won’t be around to play Hollywood movies anyway. It’s taken longer than it should have, but it seems that the big studio execs are slowly starting to realize this.

The answer here, to all of these problems, seems clear. Until the television networks and streaming services are allowed to start shooting more new programming and until movie theaters are a thing that can exist again, Hollywood must give in and #JustStreamIt. It will end movie theaters but it will save the entertainment industry. It’s time for triage, it’s time to start making tough decisions.

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