There is one good thing that may emerge from the potential wreckage of this current pandemic threat we all face. That is that it has thrown a light on the stark divide between truly useful people, and pointless baggage.
The useful are the scientists working on a cure, the medical professionals taking risks themselves to save lives, key workers in utilities keeping the lights on and the water flowing even as colleagues go off-sick, the warehouse workers and delivery drivers working around the clock to keep supermarkets stocked.
The useless baggage is a group that our society has spent far too much time paying attention to for the last few years. Even now as we face uncertain and unprecedented times these useless, pointless people are occupying their time on social media, thought-policing the rest of the world, telling them it’s racist to refer to the country of origin of the virus.
As the scale of the challenge facing us becomes clear, these people are being pushed to the fringes as they always should have been as sensible adults roll-up their sleeves and concentrate on the tasks at hand.
Another group who will become increasingly important in the coming months is business leaders as they are looked to in order to restart stuttering industries and sectors. One sector where this leadership will be vital is the one closest to our hearts here at the Last Movie Outpost, the entertainment sector. Specifically the movie business.
Cinema has born the brunt of this with theatres shuttered and movies releases pulled or shunted to VOD.
China has a plan to jump-start this industry over there, now that they claim to have beaten their own pandemic or, at least, sent it into some kind of remission.
State-owned distributor China Film Group will re-release a number of popular movies direct to newly re-opened theatres.
These will include local mega-blockbusters The Wandering Earth, Wolf Warrior 2, Wolf Totem and American Dreams in China.
These will be joined by a Lebanese film that was a hit in The People’s Republic, Capernaum, and American films A Dog’s Purpose and Green Book.
The part that is worthy of note is the plan for theatres to be able to keep 100% of the income from these re-releases. The studios and talent are not taking any money. It’s about helping the distribution network of theatres recover.
Of course, being China this is not altruistic. The producers haven’t given up their points. They have been told by the state they aren’t getting any money and if they don’t like it there is a nice re-education camp near the Russian border they can report to. Not, as some Western commentators have breathlessly reported, that studios and producers are giving up money out of wonderful kindness and charity.
Free, low-cost and charitable screenings are encouraged by the overlords. Re-opened theatres are on a strict cleaning and disinfectant regimen.
There will be another phase of this, which is rumored to include a 4K version of the first Harry Potter movie.
Given that the US movie industry is going to be as battered as that in China, would the Hollywood system ever be able to organise itself to do something similar in the US and the West without the state intervention?