Italy Film Industry Restarting Could Reveal How Hollywood Moves on Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

In a matter of days, Italy is shifting into the second phase of its economic reopening, a move that includes the gradual reopening of the country's film industry. Largely based in and around Rome, enhanced measures have been introduced that will allow for filming to pick back up as the coronavirus continues to expand across the globe. While it's back to work for some Italian filmmakers, it's far from business as usual.

While they'll be allowed to film, the country's social distancing measures will continue to be implemented. On top of that, all cast and crew involved in the production on the film sets will be required to be tested for COVID-19 prior to returning to work. While on set, temperatures will be taken on a continual basis and all cast and crew not actively filming will have to wear facemasks. Not just that, but each production and soundstage will be required to provide training on the regulations surrounding its protective and sanitation equipment. Each production company must also include access to the doctor.

As Italy was the one country hit hardest in Europe, the movers and shakers from Hollywood are all but guaranteed to be following the situation closely as virtually all productions across the United States remain paused from the time being.

With production still shutdown across the board in Hollywood, the dominoes fell in such a way that essentially forces the theater industry to shut down throughout the duration of the summer blockbuster season. While some states have already started rolling out their reopening procedures, most national chains have opted to remain closed until studios agree to begin exhibiting movies once again.

A catch-22 if there's ever been one, studios likely won't bump up any release dates while the vast majority of states remained closed and under stay-at-home orders, leading theaters to remain closed until they're confident movie-goers will begin showing up once again. Even then, it stands to reasons consumer confidence might not fully return for months afterward.

The latest frustrations have resulted in a battle between Universal and AMC Theatres, after the latter pledged to no longer show Universal films so long as they put an increased emphasis on moving features straight to video-on-demand. Universal pulled a move like that with Trolls: World Tour, a decision that has reportedly netted the company upwards of $100 million.

"Our goal in releasing Trolls: World Tour on PVOD was to deliver entertainment to people who are sheltering at home, while movie theatres and other forms of outside entertainment are unavailable," Universal Pictures shared in a response statement, per Variety. "Based on the enthusiastic response to the film, we believe we made the right move. In fact, given the choice of not releasing Trolls: World Tour, which would not only have prevented consumers from experiencing the movie but also negatively impacted our partners and employees, the decision was clear."


Cover photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images