The spread of the coronavirus has had many customer facing businesses fall on hard times – this may only be extended as social distancing measures remain in place as experts suggest we may see current distancing measures stay around until a vaccine is found, the spells trouble for those who have a lot of people in close proximity and oftentimes cannot survive whilst running at a reduced capacity – but this may not be the only thing putting cinemas and theatres especially at risk as the digital landscape continues to pose a threat.
This is impacting other businesses too – for example the gaming industry is now being heavily taken over by mobile as our smartphones have become multimedia powerhouses – brick and mortar locations struggle to pull in the same numbers they once did which may become more apparent in the coming weeks as here are some non gamstop betting sites that are already operating with sports resuming whilst the physical locations have been prevented from re-opening until July – and recent news has brought a similar fate to theatre as Disney made an announcement that has many concerned.
The ‘Hamilton’ musical was set to see a full theatrical release next year and slated to be extremely successful, however as the Disney+ platform went live, execs said that the focus would now be entirely on the streaming platform – one of the first big casualties to this was the Hamilton release as it was brought forward an entire year for an exclusive digital release only. Despite a little trepidation about seeing himself on the digital release, the main star is fully in support of the move with co-stars suggesting it may help bring a little more joy, but this is still a huge hit to theatre fans around the world.
To stay positive, however, there may be some silver lining to this – with wider exposure and release on a larger digital platform like Disney+, it may bring some attention to what is ultimately a theatrical performance – there many be many who choose to watch this who have never been to theatre or saw a live performance in a similar way which provides a possibility to create a renewed interest and demand in theatre following the coronavirus slowing. Where many other businesses may be looking for an angle to kickstart their recovery once they reopen, this move by Disney may be a silent partner in helping theatre get back to where it needs to be by creating a demand in an entirely new market.
This change may be slow, however, as mentioned social distancing will still be around for quite some time and it may be unlikely that the majority will be willing to go into a crowded public location until they feel safe to do so, once there is a change a return to normalcy however this one big move could change potential future releases – a stark contrast to what may be happening within cinema as this same shift seems to be what could cause a long and extremely difficult recovery for the box office.