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Hollywood Shutdown

Hollywood Shutdown
Production, Distribution, and Exhibition in the Time of COVID

A concise and timely analysis of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on film and television production, distribution, and exhibition in the first nine months of 2020

July 2021
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134 pages | 5.5 x 8.5 |

By March 2020, the spread of COVID-19 had reached pandemic proportions, forcing widespread shutdowns across industries, including Hollywood. Studios, networks, production companies, and the thousands of workers who make film and television possible were forced to adjust their time-honored business and labor practices. In this book, Kate Fortmueller asks what happened when the coronavirus closed Hollywood.

Hollywood Shutdown examines how the COVID-19 pandemic affected film and television production, influenced trends in distribution, reshaped theatrical exhibition, and altered labor practices. From January movie theater closures in China to the bumpy September release of Mulan on the Disney+ streaming platform, Fortmueller probes various choices made by studios, networks, unions and guilds, distributors, and exhibitors during the evolving crisis. In seeking to explain what happened in the first nine months of 2020, this book also considers how the pandemic will transform Hollywood practices in the twenty-first century.

  • List of Abbreviations
  • Introduction. Hollywood Responds to a Pandemic
  • Chapter 1. Production
  • Chapter 2. Distribution
  • Chapter 3. Exhibition
  • Conclusion. Where Do We Go from Here?
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes
  • Index

Kate Fortmueller is an assistant professor in the Department of Entertainment and Media Studies in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. She is the author of Below the Stars: How the Labor of Working Actors and Extras Shapes Media Production.


“With Hollywood Shutdown, Kate Fortmuller has provided an impressive overview of many of the key ways that COVID has impacted film, television, and digital media during an intense year. It promises to be a productive jumping-off point for conversation and analysis both by industry professionals and industry scholars, and likewise will be beneficial to students trying to understand a rapidly changing media business. ”
Alisa Perren, author of Indie, Inc.: Miramax and the Transformation of Hollywood in the 1990s