9. 4. 2020
The year was 1918. As World War I was ending, the Spanish Flu began ravaging the world. Within a year, it killed 675,000 Americans and 50 million worldwide — 10 million more than those who perished in the war.
There are several parallels between the response to the Spanish Flu and COVID-19 in the U.S. In both cases, states of emergency were declared; all public places, including movie theaters and schools, were closed for months; and wearing face masks in public was recommended.
The Spanish flu pandemic brought about cataclysmic changes in the film business, most of them orchestrated by Adolph Zukor. It led to the establishment of the studio system, which continues to dominate Hollywood, and vertical integration, with studios wrestling control over movie theaters from mom-and-pop owners.
In an interview with Deadline, Hollywood historian William Mann, author of Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood, which he and Kevin Murphy are adapting into a series for Spectrum Originals, talks about the Spanish flu pandemic’s profound impact on the film business, what big shakeups the current pandemic could bring (especially in theater ownership), and how long would it…
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