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Global cinema industry affected by coronavirus outbreak

09 Mar 2020 | Rasmus Larsen |

Theaters in China remain closed while cinemagoers in some other regions are staying home due to concerns about coronavirus. The latest James Bond film, No Time to Die, is the first big release to have been postponed.

China's box office plummets

In the first two months of 2020, China's box office, the world's second-largest market, has brought in just $238 million compared to $2.148 billion in the first two months of 2019, according to data by Comscore reported by Variety. The Lunar New Year holiday in China is usually a boon for the cinema industry but around 70,000 theaters in China have been ordered to shut down operations in an effort to contain the coronavirus outbreak in the country. Box office revenue in South Korea, the world's fifth-largest market, was down nearly 70% in February 2020, according to the country's national bureau via The Hollywood Reporter. Some theaters in South Korea remain open while others are closed. In Italy, more than half of all theaters were closed by early March, resulting in a 76% drop in box office revenue last weekend. Box office revenue in Japan, the world's third-largest market, is also started to show signs of decline while some cinemagoers in the Middle East region are staying home. Some analysts believe that the situation could lead to a loss of more than $5 billion this year from lower box office revenue and production delays, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In 2019, global box office revenue reached $42.5 billion, an all-time high. IMAX has been hit especially hard due to 31% of its revenue coming from China.

No Time to Die

'No Time to Die' postponed

On the flip side theaters in North America remain open and audiences are not staying home, as evidenced by Disney/Pixar's Onward that debuted this weekend to $40 million in North America, in line with expectations. Theaters in many other markets also continue to operate as normal. However, cinemagoers across the world will feel the impact of the coronavirus outbreak to some extent. The premiere of the latest James Bond film, No Time to Die, has been postponed worldwide from April 2020 to November 2020, and production on several new films have been affected or delayed. It remains to be seen if other new releases, such as Disney's Mulan planned for later this month, will be affected. Meanwhile, some analysts are predicting that the situation could lead to a surge in subscriptions to streaming services as cinemagoers are looking for alternatives in the short term. Netflix is already available in most countries, except for China and a few other regions, while Disney will enter several European countries later this month. Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+ are also widely available. - Source: The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, 007

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