With movie theaters closed by coronavirus, Universal Pictures made the leap into people’s living rooms, making DreamWorks’ Trolls World Tour the studio’s first simultaneous theatrical and online release. The audacious move disrupted the whole movie biz in the process. Within just three weeks of its digital debut in April, Trolls World Tour raked in nearly US$100 million in rental fees. That translated to more revenue for Universal in 19 days than the first Trolls film yielded during its entire five months in theaters.
14th Most Influential Project of 2020
Disney’s new streaming service had more than 10 million subscribers within one day of its November 2019 launch in the United States, Canada and the Netherlands. With children sheltered at home and most of Disney’s theme parks shuttered because of COVID-19, the streaming service became an even bigger global sensation. By May, Disney+ had 54.5 million users—thanks to crafty business maneuvering and a dash of good old-fashioned Hollywood magic.
16th Most Influential Project of 2020
"I'm John Krasinski, and if it isn’t clear yet, I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing." The actor never imagined he’d be hosting a makeshift news program while sheltered at home with his family. But as the world hunkered down in response to COVID-19, Krasinski looked on the bright side—and delivered what the noisy news cycle was sorely missing: Some Good News (SGN).
38th Most Influential Project of 2020
Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite was the first non-English movie to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. But the Korean dark comedy also distinguished itself with stunningly authentic sets that drew viewers even more deeply into the tale. And the crew did it all on a budget under US$11.4 million—modest, at least by Hollywood standards.
25th Most Influential Project of 2020
After suspending play in March, England’s Premier League rewrote the playbook for relaunching professional sports in the age of COVID-19. The world’s most-watched football league resumed matches on 17 June with no fans in stadiums, strict health protocols for teams, and players and officials kneeling to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Of the 22,133 tests of players and club staff over the 15 weeks of the season, only 20 came back positive for COVID-19.
Netflix’s strange and addictive true-crime documentary started streaming just as the United States went into coronavirus lockdown. But it wasn’t solely timing that led the big cat documentary to claw its way into the national psyche and attract 34.3 million viewers in its first 10 days. The secret? A cast of kooky characters and an impossible-to-look-away storyline that took five years to unfold.
Production shutdown? No problem. After the global pandemic ended filming, the TV crime series The Blacklist went partially animated for its season finale. U.K. and U.S. animation artists from Proof Inc. created about 20 minutes of footage, supplemented by audio recorded by actors from their homes. That was then combined with previously filmed live-action footage to create the hybrid episode.
The spy thriller was Netflix’s first commissioned script-to-screen project to come from Africa. Led by South African creator and executive producer Kagiso Lediga, the series was filmed across the continent with an entirely African cast and crew. The series first aired in February and has already been renewed for a second season, part of an expected push by Netflix and other streaming platforms to capture Africa’s growing audience.
Making the most of its US$4 billion acquisition of LucasFilm, entertainment goliath Disney launched its Star Wars-themed park at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, USA in August 2019. Along with pulling in new customers, the US$1 billion 14-acre (5.7-hectare) expansion delivered an employment boost: 5,500 construction and trade workers and over 50 contractors, plus an estimated 1,700 new jobs to run the new space-themed portion of the park.
The “Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams” exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England featured more than 500 frocks and objects. It was a fashionista’s dream—if they could get in. Tickets sold out three weeks after the show started in February 2019, prompting the museum to extend its run. The exhibit eventually drew 594,994 visitors over the course of 30 weeks. That was enough to beat the museum’s previous high (2015’s “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty”) by 100,000.