May 12, 2022 - Technology

Zoom takes over movie production

The Walt Disney Studios executive Vice President of theatrical distribution Tony Chambers speaks about the upcoming Marvel Studios movie "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness."

Tony Chambers, Walt Disney Studios' executive vice president of theatrical distribution, speaks about the Marvel Studios movie, "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness." Photo: Gabe Ginsberg/WireImage

Virtual meetings have become so commonplace for Marvel Studios that some editors and directors never meet in person during production.

Driving the news: "Moon Knight" director Mohamed Diab told Axios after the Marvel show's finale that he never met one of the show's editors in person even though production for the show lasted three years.

  • Diab told Axios that the Marvel television project spent six months of pre-production and six months of post-production using Zoom and he never physically met "Moon Knight" editor Joan Sobel.
  • And, despite the virtual workflow, the show had the least amount of reshoots in Marvel production history, Diab said.

Zoom out: "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," which premiered on May 6, earned an estimated $185 million in ticket sales for its first weekend, per the Associated Press.

  • The film had the biggest opening of 2022, finishing ahead of “The Batman" ($134 million) and “Spider-Man: Far From Home” ($260.1 million).

The "Doctor Strange" sequel was mostly produced and edited through Zoom too, director Sam Raimi said in the global press conference for the film.

  • He said editing and audio mixing scenes would happen virtually.

What he said: "I could speak to, you know, 10s of crew members at once," Raimi told reporters. "We could show a storyboard from an artist, the editor can bring up a piece of the cut. We really had great communication, audiovisual.”

  • "You were able to speak to 100 people at once. It's fantastic."

Raimi — who directed the "Spider-Man" trilogy from the early 2000s starring Tobey Maguire — has seen Marvel's shift in production since the pandemic started.

  • He said that the recent move to Zoom meetings was a "technological difference that really enabled me to work on this movie."
  • "The technology has changed and it's just become a lot easier," he said.

Hollywood productions didn't completely come to a standstill when the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down.

  • Many television and movie productions shifted to virtual apps for production to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Grant Curtis, an executive producer for Marvel's "Moon Knight," told Axios that his team learned lessons on how to work virtually from other shows like "WandaVision" (premiered in January 2021) and "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" (debuted in March 2021).

  • These shows were forced into virtual production by the pandemic.
  • "Zoom became a way of working on this," Curtis said of "Moon Knight."
  • "Virtually prepping stuff became a way of working."

The bottom line: Hollywood (including Marvel) is shifting its workplace to Zoom, much like the rest of us. And it doesn't seem to be slowing down the success of even the biggest studios, such as Marvel.

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