Covid-19 Changed the Way We Watch Movies. The 1918 Pandemic Set the Stage.
The 1918 flu pandemic helped to usher in the Hollywood studio system. Could Covid-19 transform the industry?
Today, faced with social distancing protocols and sagging ticket sales, the movie industry is poised for change. Streaming services are upending the traditional theatrical schedule, bringing new releases directly into viewers’ homes.
There’s a parallel from the past: The economic fallout of the 1918 flu pandemic threatened the fledgling movie industry, from its stars to local theaters. The pioneering film titan Adolph Zukor helped the industry to adapt and thrive with a factory-like strategy, consolidating production, distribution and exhibition.
Others soon followed, buying up or absorbing smaller, weaker studios and theaters, cementing the efficient Hollywood studio system that would remain in place for decades.