coronavirus concerns

Everything, from the stock market to businesses to the fragile state of various American institutions, has taken a hit from the coronavirus epidemic, which has continued to rapidly spread throughout the world. One of the industries to take a hit is the entertainment industry, resulting in delayed movie releases, falling box office numbers, and a reshuffling of the yearly film festival schedule.

Now, the Centers for Disease Control have advised the elderly, as well as groups with underlying medical conditions, to “avoid crowds” and “stay home as much as possible” in the case of an outbreak of their communities. According to agency, the elderly are twice as likely to develop a serious disease if they catch COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus. This is sending ripples throughout all industries, including the movie, stage, and even TV industries. Here is an update on how coronavirus concerns are affecting how we get our entertainment.

Theaters and Movie Releases Take a Hit

The release date delay of Daniel Craig’s last James Bond outing, No Time to Die, was the first and biggest sign of the coronavirus’ effect on the movie industry. And the outbreak is continuing to affect film release dates, especially with several international markets like China, Italy, and South Korea, shutting down their screens altogether to rein in the epidemic.

According to Deadline, Sony has decided to push its family sequel Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway back to the summer to avoid the negative box office effects of the spiraling coronavirus epidemic. The film was initially due to launch March 19 in Australia, March 26 in Germany, Portugal and the Ukraine, and March 27 in the UK and Ireland and Sweden, followed by the wide international release in early April and its domestic bow on April 3. The first Peter Rabbit took in $235 million of its $351 global haul from international territory, performing best in France, Germany, and Japan. With Asian and European markets recording historically low box office weekends, Sony is not taking any chances with the sequel.

Despite some reports that coronavirus concerns weren’t the cause for low box office numbers this past weekend, The Hollywood Reporter says that studios are bracing for a downturn in moviegoing in the weeks ahead in the aftermath of the CDC’s recommendation for the elderly to avoid crowds.

TV in Jeopardy

The CDC recommendation is even affecting television too. According to Deadline, game shows like Jeopardy! and Wheel Of Fortune, shows that have long relied on audiences that are generally older and from out of town, will begin taping episodes without studio audiences for the “foreseeable future.” Jeopardy host Alex Trebek continues his duties on the program while battling Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

Crowds at Broadway and Festivals

Coronavirus concerns are expected to take a significant toll on Broadway theater attendance as well. Deadline reports that producer Scott Rudin is slashing ticket prices to $50 through March to help keep theaters full. Rudin’s productions, which include To Kill a Mockingbird, West Side Story, The Lehman Trilogy, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and The Book of Mormon, are typically sold out and play to near-full houses every time. But Rudin is anticipating last-minute cancelations, which are likely to increase as New York City’s coronavirus cases rise.

But the show must go on, on Broadway and on the world stage. The prestigious Cannes Film Festival is still on for the time being, but concerns about the crowds at the festival are reaching a high as a new Variety report reveals that in the event of a cancellation, the festival won’t be able to rely on an insurance claim. According to the report, the festival was given the opportunity by its insurance company, Circle Group, to purchase a buy-back option covering epidemics and pandemics around 10 days ago, and declined. Because Cannes has declined to take the option, the festival won’t be covered even if it’s forced to cancel by its government. This explains why Cannes, which is held in late May, has been reluctant to cancel despite the French government’s recent ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 people.

Keep an eye on this space as we continue to give updates on how the industry is affected by the coronavirus epidemic.

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