All of the movies have been pushed back. Or canceled. or shelved.
While Christopher Nolan knows that your TV is huge and you have a Bose bar, he doesn’t care. His movies are made to be seen on huge screens as part of a crowd, so even his already-storied next film, Tenet, is shelved until it can be seen properly.
The movie industry, worried that it can’t weather a long-term pandemic work stoppage, is being responsible.
If there’s anyone who can’t reopen at the moment, it’s gotta be the businesses who thrive on cramming people into a room for as many minutes per day as possible. It’s gotta be the movie theaters. They just cannot open.
What does this work stoppage mean for the industry? Well, it’s possible that about everything in the film and TV production industry will be touched by the COVID-19 pandemic. So what can we expect for the nearish future? Well, a lot more animated movies and shows. Small, intimate productions and stories. More movies shot in small towns. More movies shot overseas. More movies going straight to VOD. More and more drive-in theaters reopening and being built. And, sadly, perhaps a lower quality of product on average.
Of all those changes, the rediscovery of the drive-in theater is not only the most interesting, but surely the most charming. Like most folks my age or younger, I have fond memories of seeing movies at the drive-in, both as a child with family (ET for the kids, then Raiders for all) and as a teenager with friends and romantic interests (Bean for the kids, then Contact for all).
Before you say it, I know there are problems with drive-in theaters. There can be bugs and too much noise. The picture probably isn’t as crisp or vivid as your TV. Besides, staying home is still the more responsible choice.
I don’t know about you, but I’m into the ideas of drive-in theaters reopening, being built, and becoming a general thing again. I miss going out to see a movie about as much as anything right now. And if drive-ins are the only way we’re going to get guys like Christopher Nolan to release their work right now, then let’s do it.
Let’s get the industry going in the direction of drive-ins. Wes Anderson and David Fincher both have new movies I need to see. There’s a new Bond film that looks incredible. Mike Mills and Joaquin Phoenix made a film called C’Mon, C’Mon that I predict is Joaquin’s next Oscar win. And don’t even get me started on Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland or Denis Villeneuve’s Dune remake.
Imagine that, a night spent at a drive-in with a nerdy cinephile friend watching Tenet and Dune back-to-back. Maybe you get a few mosquito bites and yeah you didn’t get home until really late, but it was a night to remember, right?
One last thought before we wrap this thing up — what if they pair a new movie with an old movie? I’ve seen it happen before, sure, but what if it becomes the quarantine-era standard? Go see The French Dispatch and The Royal Tenenbaums on a cool October night with your latest flame. Nachos from the concession stand and a box of Mike & Ikes you bought from the gas station on the way. A Diet Coke and a Watermelon Bai? Sounds like a good night to me.
In short, this is me asking all you dear supporters of ScreenTime to band together, open a drive-in theater, and let me program it.
Here is how I would program my first 10-weekend season: Pulp Fiction and Die Hard with a Vengeance; Major League then He Got Game; The Squid and the Whale then Marriage Story; Con Air then Wild at Heart; Silence of the Lambs then Henry; Dazed and Confused then Do the Right Thing; Blue Valentine then Love Streams; Jurassic Park then Jaws; Terminator 2 then Taxi Driver; The Big Lebowski then Pineapple Express.
Every night has a theme and we sell T-shirts and posters for each double feature. Boom, I fixed COVID-19 with movies.
Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org with your guesses for what my Season One themes were.