The Wuhan coronavirus has cost China’s movie business over $1 billion in lost revenue already

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Zhuolu County Digital Cinema in China in 2016. Zhuolu County Digital Cinema
  • Nearly all of China’s 70,000 theatres are closed as the country reels from the Wuhan coronavirus.
  • Chinese ticket revenue is at just $US3.9 million in the last 20 days, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
  • Revenue was at $US1.52 billion during the same timespan last year.
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Nearly all of China’s 70,000 theatres are closed as the country reels from the coronavirus, and it has cost the local movie business over $US1 billion.

Chinese ticket revenue is at just $US3.9 million in the last 20 days, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Revenue hit $US1.52 billion in the same timespan last year. The weekend of the Chinese New Year, which was in late January, is usually China’s biggest time for moviegoing. It’s also when major film releases were cancelled and the theatres started to close.

Jimmy Wu, the CEO of Chinese cinema company Lumiere Pavilion, told THR that the Chinese government will have to take drastic measures to save the theatre industry. They include offering emergency funding or a refund of the “film fee” from China’s Film Bureau that is taken out of ticket revenue.

The coronavirus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has spread to at least 25 more countries, has killed more than 1,100 people and infected more than 45,000.

Chinese regulations prevent Chinese movies from being released outside of the country before they have been released in mainland China. This has impacted theatrical releases outside of the region. For instance, Warner Bros. postponed the North American release of the Chinese-produced “Detective Chinatown 3” last month “in accordance with our partner’s wishes and based on the current situation in China,” a studio spokesperson said in a statement.

It’s unknown how long China’s theatres could be closed or how the cancelled movies will be rescheduled.