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COVID-19

What will Hollywood look like when it finally reopens?

Jasmine Garsd Apr 28, 2020
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The Walt Disney Studios in Los Angeles halted production April 8. Amy Sussman/Getty Images
COVID-19

What will Hollywood look like when it finally reopens?

Jasmine Garsd Apr 28, 2020
The Walt Disney Studios in Los Angeles halted production April 8. Amy Sussman/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

A couple of weeks ago, actress Kiki Melendez had an audition for the TV show “NCIS.” But she was told not to come in.

“I sent it to them. You know, I recorded myself and sent it to them.” Melendez hasn’t heard back yet; NCIS halted production due to COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought Hollywood to a screeching halt. That’s a huge part of California’s economy. It means job losses for everyone from on-screen talent to caterers, makeup artists and camera operators, just to name a few. And even when Hollywood does restart, a lot will change. There’s talk of on-set staff getting tested regularly for the coronavirus. Studios are reportedly thinking of limiting the use of extras.

“That is horrible for the industry,” Melendez said. “I mean, when I first came here, that was how I got all my experience. That’s how I supported myself. “

Other ideas are also on the table, said Frank Patterson, president of Pinewood Atlanta Studios, where Marvel movies like “The Avengers” are filmed.

“One of the ideas that a number of the studios are working on is quarantining those teams, having them stay together or work together and travel together,” Patterson said.

He expects less filming on location — it’s just easier to control a closed studio environment than, say, the streets of New York. 

And the big question, of course, is when is this all going to happen? Some studios are hoping to start up again in July, but many say a fall reopening is more realistic.

“We don’t know when reentry will take place, but we want to be prepared,” said Colleen Bell, executive director of the California Film Commission.

She said she’s having ongoing discussions about what it will look like. Because one thing is for sure: When Hollywood finally gets back to business, it won’t be business as usual. 

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What do I need to know about tax season this year?

Glad you asked! We have a whole separate FAQ section on that. Some quick hits: The deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 17 for individuals. Also, millions of people received unemployment benefits in 2020 — up to $10,200 of which will now be tax-free for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. And, for those who filed before the American Rescue Plan passed, simply put, you do not need to file an amended return at the moment. Find answers to the rest of your questions here.

How long will it be until the economy is back to normal?

It feels like things are getting better, more and more people getting vaccinated, more businesses opening, but we’re not entirely out of the woods. To illustrate: two recent pieces of news from the Centers for Disease Control. Item 1: The CDC is extending its tenant eviction moratorium to June 30. Item 2: The cruise industry didn’t get what it wanted — restrictions on sailing from U.S. ports will stay in place until November. Very different issues with different stakes, but both point to the fact that the CDC thinks we still have a ways to go before the pandemic is over, according to Dr. Philip Landrigan, who used to work at the CDC and now teaches at Boston College.

How are those COVID relief payments affecting consumers?

Payments started going out within days of President Joe Biden signing the American Rescue Plan, and that’s been a big shot in the arm for consumers, said John Leer at Morning Consult, which polls Americans every day. “Consumer confidence is really on a tear. They are growing more confident at a faster rate than they have following the prior two stimulus packages.” Leer said this time around the checks are bigger and they’re getting out faster. Now, rising confidence is likely to spark more consumer spending. But Lisa Rowan at Forbes Advisor said it’s not clear how much or how fast.

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