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The Quarantine Effect: Everything you need to know about how COVID-19 has impacted the entertainment world

To say that the world has changed a lot in the last few months is probably one of the biggest "duh" statements of the century. The coronavirus pandemic, which hit the United States and much of the rest of the world this spring, forced us all to make a lot of changes to our daily routines—and to some of our biggest summer plans. 

The entertainment world was hit especially hard since, well, so many of the ways we consume entertainment are also group activities and definitely not social-distancing-friendly. Concerts (and, in some cases, entire tours) have been postponed or outright cancelled. Movie theaters have been forced to shut down, prompting studios to push pause on releasing blockbusters we've all been waiting months to see (oh, live-action Mulan, will we ever see you?). The world is a different place in general, but the entertainment world can feel fully unrecognizable right now. 

If you're feeling a little lost amid all of the changes COVID-19 is necessitating, you're not alone and there is no need to feel embarrassed—it's a lot to keep track of. To help cut through the confusion, we've put together your ultimate guide to what we're calling the Quarantine Effect. Scroll down for the answers to all of your biggest, most burning questions about the changes happening in the worlds of movies, music, TV, and even streaming right now. 

Why have so many movies been postponed? 

It already felt like we had been waiting forever for spring and summer blockbusters like Disney's live-action Mulan, the long-awaited Black Widow movie, and Wonder Woman 1984.  Some of the movies postponed by the coronavirus have been put on the schedule for later this year, while others have been pushed all the way to 2021 (like the new Ghostbusters movie, which was supposed to come out in June and is now scheduled for spring of next year). 

Movie studios aren't trying to actively torture us when we're already so bored and starved for new #content. These movies have been postponed because quarantine and stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus forced movie theaters to close in most of the country. 

But why have some new movies been available to rent at home? 

During these crazy, unprecedented times, movie studios have experimented with releasing some movies that were originally planned for theaters straight to home streaming platforms. Trolls World Tour led the pack, followed by SCOOB! and in June, Disney is set to drop Artemis Fowl straight to streaming on Disney+

There isn't a set rule for which movies are being postponed and which are going straight to streaming, but a lot of it probably comes down to money (this is Hollywood we're talking about, after all). Basically, movies that were a little less expensive to make might have a better chance of earning enough money streaming at home to drop them that way, whereas the mega-blockbusters that studios spend the most money to make probably need to be released in theaters to turn a profit. 

Will concerts ever be the same again?

The short answer is: Someday. Probably...but not for a while. 

The longer answer: Even as some parts of the country are reopening, big gatherings that are just for fun (like concerts and sporting events) are going to be impacted by the coronavirus for a long time—probably until we have a reliable vaccine (which could take a few years).

Some experts think that concerts could get back to normal-ish if rapid coronavirus tests become available. Under that model, everyone who wanted to come into the venue would have to take a COVID-19 test before entering. If that test came back positive, you would be turned away for the safety of everyone else at the concert. 

Another possibility is that live music could return, but with limited ticket sales (so maybe a venue would only sell every third or fourth seat at the stadium, to enforce social distancing). 

In the short-term, though, get used to livestreams over live shows because virtual events are likely to rule until a vaccine is developed and available for the general public. 

What will the quarantines mean for my favorite TV shows? 

One of the most obvious ways the coronavirus has impacted entertainment has been on TV. Television can't just all go dark and wait for things to get back to normal, after all. As a result, lots of shows were forced to move to at-home production models this spring, including lots of talk shows, late night shows, and even Saturday Night Live

More traditional scripted shows did have to shut down production though, and it's not clear when it will be safe for the casts and crews of those shows to get back to work, meaning that some of your favorite shows will probably be delayed returning to the air this fall. The shut downs have even impacted some Netflix and YouTube shows. We'll just have to wait and see if TV shows wait for the all-clear to go back into production or start to get creative and find ways to have their cast film from home like talk shows and SNL have.

Will my favorite celebrity quarantine shows keep going after this is all over? 

The one entertainment bright spot during the Great Quarantine of 2020 has been the slate of new internet shows from our favorite celebrities. We're talking about shows like Miley Cyrus’ Bright Minded Instagram Live series, Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin's Facebook show The Biebers on Watch, John Krasinski’s Some Good News, and Charli XCX’s Self Isolation. If you haven't already been watching these shows, add them to your media diet ASAP. 

It's not clear if these shows will continue after the quarantines end, but we definitely hope they do. 

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by Kayleigh R. | 5/21/2020
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