- The Chinese box office has dropped by $US1.91 billion in the first two months of this year compared to the same time period last year, according to Comscore.
- China’s 70,000 theatres closed in January amid concerns over the Wuhan coronavirus, which has killed more than 3,000 people.
- The theatres shut down during the weekend of the Chinese New Year, which is typically the biggest time for moviegoing in the region.
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The coronavirus continues to deal a huge blow to China’s movie business.
The Chinese box office has dropped by $US1.91 billion in the first two months of this year compared to the same time period last year, when the box office was at $US2.148, billion according to Comscore.
China’s 70,000 movie theatres closed in January and major movie releases were postponed amid concerns over the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus, which has spread to at least 70 countries and killed more than 3,000 people. The Chinese theatrical market is the second biggest in the world behind the US, but theatres closed during the weekend of the Chinese New Year in late January, which is typically the region’s busiest moviegoing time of the year.
In the first 20 days of the theatre closures, movie-ticket revenue in China was at just $US3.9 million, compared to $US1.52 billion in the same time period last year. Jimmy Wu, the CEO of Chinese cinema company Lumiere Pavilion, told The Hollywood Reporter that the Chinese government will have to take drastic measures to save the theatre industry, which could include emergency funding.
Beyond the Chinese movie business, the coronavirus is also impacting Hollywood.
Notably, Disney’s “Mulan” remake, which cost $US200 million to make and hits theatres in the US and other markets on March 27, was expected to be a huge hit in China. But China had not confirmed a release date in the region before the theatres shut down and with them unlikely to reopen this month, the movie’s global box office could suffer.
The Chinese premiere for the upcoming James Bond movie, “No Time to Die,” was cancelled. Production on the seventh “Mission: Impossible” movie, which is scheduled for release next year, was halted in Italy over coronavirus concerns. And the actor Vin Diesel cancelled a planned promotional tour in China for his superhero movie “Bloodshot,” which arrives next week.
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