Coronavirus Cancellations

International production studios are beginning to re-open after months of shutdowns in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We’ve seen countries like New Zealand, which had a notably tough response to the outbreak, the Czech Republic, and France begin to slowly resume film and TV productions, but studios in the U.K. and Asian countries like South Korea, China, and Taiwan have begun to follow suit.

Deadline reports that some of the biggest studios in the U.K. have begun to open their doors and resume film and TV production again, with precautions in place.

Elstree Studios and Twickenham Studios have announced that production has resumed, while other studios like Arborfield/Longcross Studios and Maidstone Studios will be ready to restart in a few weeks. Arborfield was one of the first studios to be affected by the pandemic after Netflix shut down production on The Witcher following actor Kristofer Hivju’s tested positive for coronavirus.

Only Pinewood Studios, which has been the favorite of major companies like Disney and Netflix, did not shut down its Pinewood and Shepperton sites during the height of the pandemic, even as Disney and Netflix shut down its productions worldwide. Pinewood has put “extensive safety protocols in place” for when its clients decide to resume filming. BBC Studioworks also kept its sites open during the pandemic, for shows like Piers Morgan’s Good Morning Britain to remain on air. Several other shows are set to return in the coming weeks.

In the Pacific region, things are even closer to going back to normal, Variety revealed in an extensive report. New Zealand and Australia, thanks to their geographic isolation and sparse populations, have been able to quickly flatten the curve of infections with strict travel bans and border lockdowns. While borders are still closed in New Zealand, international film productions like the massive Avatar sequels have already restarted. However, domestic film and TV industries in New Zealand and Australia have been slower to restart.

Meanwhile, film and TV production in China, ground zero for the pandemic, has resumed. While theaters remain closed following a brief re-opening, productions continue, though some producers have been forced to take their content straight to streaming. Hong Kong and Taiwan, which border mainland China and both managed to keep cases down despite recording early infections, are a study in opposites, as Hong Kong’s film production industry remains at a standstill and Taiwan has continued film and TV productions.

Unusually, South Korea, which has been upheld as the prime example for a densely populated country that was able to stem the spread of coronavirus with rigorous testing and contact testing programs, remains on the early side of restarting its film and TV productions. The film and TV sector “has only now started to crawl back into life,” Variety reports, despite the success South Korea has enjoyed with the popularity of K-dramas and the global acclaim of Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar-winning Parasite.

The slow restarting of film and TV productions across the globe give an good idea of how Hollywood can hope to restart, with new precautions like masks, social distancing, and COVID-19 officers in place on sets. Though all these countries’ productions are still too early in their re-opening to see how to most successfully restart, it still allows Hollywood to chart a path to re-opening, which will likely end up being slower and more expensive.

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