Could Theatrical Delays Make Movies Better?
Movie theaters are closed, the best films have been getting pushed back (well, except for Hamilton, so there’s that), and new film production has been put on hold, and I get that that all sucks—but I’m thinking there might actually be some upside to this, hopefully making the experience even better when we are finally able to return to the movie theater or get some great
new content to watch at home!
More Time = Better Results
You ever watch those cooking shows where chefs are furiously working down to the very last, “Hands up, utensils down!” second? That is basically every Hollywood production schedule. They are working on these films till practically the very last second to ensure they are as good as possible, tightening the edits, effects, and story. For a perfect example of this, check out Into the Unknown: Making Frozen II on Disney+, which shows just how many people and moving parts, and how much work, are involved in bringing a major film to the screen.
But now studios have all been given the greatest commodity of all—time—to go back to hone these films that were supposed to already have been released and tweak them to perfection. This is the equivalent of an extra hour in the kitchen, and instead of not completing a sauce or forgetting a garnish, they can deliver a perfect plate.
And while working on new productions on soundstages and in offices has mostly ceased, a lot of this effect and finishing work can be performed remotely, meaning Hollywood could be hard at work behind the scenes to make these upcoming releases truly impressive.
Writers Can Write . . . and Rewrite
Banging out a script is often a furious process under a tight deadline that involves lots of changes and rewrites, with others frequently brought in to help improve or punch up the material, often happening on the very day of shooting. And
you know what can be a total suck to the creative process? A looming deadline. Sure, that proverbial clock ticking over your head might produce pages, but it doesn’t always result in the best, most original and creative work.
Writers will undoubtedly benefit from all of this forced time in isolation, letting them focus on crafting the best stories possible, or have extra time to go over and improve projects already in the pipeline that were delayed. Think about Disney/Pixar’s Soul, planned for June 19 and now waiting until November 20, or Morbius moving from July of this year to March 2021, or Fast 9 originally slated for a May 2020 release and now waiting almost a full year until April 2021. It’s not too much of a stretch to think that some of the best movies we’ll ever see are being written right now!
With theaters forced to close, owners now have the time and opportunity to do any needed renovations or upgrades. That seat with the hole in it? Get it repaired or replaced. Haven’t implemented a seat reservation system? Get on it. That one blown speaker or subwoofer that seems to plague at least one auditorium at the cineplex? Fix it. Been holding off on upgrading to an Atmos sound system because you didn’t want to close your biggest theater? Now’s the perfect time. Haven’t changed your projector lamp or balanced the sound system in a while? Get on it.
Theater chains know that people have enjoyed the opportunity to experience some first-run films in the comfort of their homes, and nothing is going to kill the momentum of a comeback like a sucky experience, meaning now is the perfect time to make sure their theaters are all in top order when they open back up.
Whether you’re excited for Tenet, Mulan, or the new Bond No Time to Die, here’s hoping Hollywood takes this extra time to give us the best experience when we’re able to get back to the movies!
Probably the most experienced writer on custom installation in the industry, John Sciacca is
co-owner of Custom Theater & Audio in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, & is known for his writing
for such publications as Residential Systems and Sound & Vision. Follow him on Twitter at
@SciaccaTweets and at johnsciacca.com.