To say that 2020 was unique for everyone on the globe would be a massive understatement. The year will obviously be remembered for the shocking and world-changing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. I think most people would agree that 2020 was a pretty bad year, all things considered, even though there definitely were good things that happened along the way. But today, on New Year’s Eve, I want to take one last look back on the tumultuous year and, since this is primarily a blog about films and television, how it forever altered the film and movie theater industry
State of the Industry
In the film and movie theater industries, the year will be remembered for the absolute disorder that characterized it. 2020 was a disappointing year for film studios and movie theaters around the world. Some movie theaters closed or are currently on the precipice of shutting down, and film studios scrambled to save a film year that was quickly going down the drain. The total state of confusion and shock made several film studios blink and alter their plans, and, as a result, some studios even ended up challenging the movie theater industry and their great temples dedicated to entertainment and art.
The release of the upcoming James Bond-film No Time to Die was postponed again and again much to the frustrations of movie theater owners everywhere, and the release tactics of films such as the animated films Scoob! and Trolls: World Tour frightened entire movie theater chains and even made AMC Theatres release threatening statements towards Universal Pictures.
When theaters opened outside of the United States in the summer of 2020, Warner Bros. and Christopher Nolan tried to revive the movie year with the release of Tenet, which some expected to save the movie theater industry. Disappointing box office results and lukewarm critical reception meant that it did not live up to the unrealistic expectations. No, Christopher Nolan and Tenet did not save the movie year.
But where Nolan, Warner Bros., and Tenet failed, there were some notable success stories this year. Although many hoped that Christopher Nolan would become a savior of the industry, it was not him that saved the movie year for me, even though I liked his film. Instead, it was Mads Mikkelsen whose stardom and performances almost singlehandedly revived and strengthened the Danish film and movie theater industry in a time of disorder. Another Round became a huge critical success and it has already earned him awards recognition, while Riders of Justice, the latest Anders Thomas Jensen black comedy, performed remarkably well in theaters in Denmark in spite of the fact that it did not get a full run in theaters. In Denmark, it’s safe to say that the movie year would not have been the same without Mads Mikkelsen. And, in Japan, the local film Demon Slayer broke local box office records, which is frankly incredible in a year such as this one. So there were success stories to speak of this year.
As the year came to an end — and theaters once again closed in Denmark — Warner Bros. and HBO Max announced that their entire slate of films for 2021 would be released in theaters and on their streaming service simultaneously, which is a decision that resulted in the entire industry, including directors such as Christopher Nolan and Denis Villeneuve, becoming outraged. The future of the movie theater industry is up in the air. What Warner Bros. did with HBO Max may have irreparably damaged the state of the theater industry. Because I do not think the genie can go back in the bottle once it has come out. Moviegoers will expect to watch films from the comfort of their own homes once they’ve grown accustomed to them being released that way. So, where do we go from here? Your guess is as good as mine.
Year-In-Review Lists and Awards
Here at the end of the article, I would like to briefly list when my own personal top ten lists will be released. Earlier in the year, I had thought that it would be easy to finish my top ten films of the year-list at the end of 2020 since films would have to be released on streaming services or VOD by now to be eligible for the upcoming Academy Awards. But that all changed when the Academy pushed the ceremony. This also meant that I would again have to wait a few additional months to see some of the most celebrated American films of the year, such as Promising Young Woman and Nomadland.
Therefore I probably won’t finish and release my personal lists and awards for 2020 until mid-to-late February 2021. Ideally, this would mean that I could watch other 2020 films whose release dates have also been pushed, such as The Father, but, for some unknown reason, it won’t be released in Denmark until June 2021, and I will not be waiting for that long to release my lists.
I should also mention that, at the time of writing, Danish movie theaters are closed. They have actually been closed for a couple of weeks now, and we know that they won’t open until mid-to-late January at the earliest. So, if the theaters stay closed in February, then I may have to change my plans.
And that’s it. Before you know it, the year will be over. Things won’t magically change for the better when the new year begins. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel since COVID-19 vaccines actually exist now. The new year can perhaps be a little bit intimidating but it is definitely exciting. I would like to wish everyone a safe and happy new year!
– Article Written by Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.