By Adedapo Adesanya
With the global shipping industry facing a $1.7 billion loss on the heels of coronavirus, the global film industry could face a higher loss – as preventive measures such as avoiding public spaces may restrict releases and prevent people from visiting the cinemas.
Analysts believe COVID-19 could already result in a loss of at least $5 billion from weakened box office revenue and impacted production as scheduled releases are been pushed to a future date.
Reports show that movie theatres have been closed in China, where the disease originated for weeks and with recent spread into major film markets like Japan, the United States, South Korea, Italy, and other countries, they may be a similar reaction.
The $5 billion could grow if movie-going falters in other markets, such as Japan, which is the third biggest film market in the world, where schools are already closing down and in the US, where there have been 100 confirmed cases and more than 10 deaths so far.
According to a report by the Hollywood Reporter, China, which is the world’s second-largest market in terms of cinemas (70,000), remain closed amid the outbreak, and as both Hollywood and local studios have started pushing back releases, the impact are already been felt on the economy.
For instance, it was disclosed that ticket sales in the traditional Chinese New Year holiday period, from January 24 to February 2020, were as low as $4.2 million, compared with $1.76 billion over the same period in 2019.
In China’s Asian neighbour, South Korea, which is the world’s fifth largest movie market and with over 6,000 cases confirmed in a little over a month, revenue was down by 80 percent year-over-year.
It was gathered that revenue went down by 70 percent in February 2020 as ticket sales brought in $52 million from 7.3 million tickets compared to $185 million from 22.3 million tickets in February 2019.
It was revealed that in Italy, almost half of cinemas have been shut down since the virus, with over 3,000 cases and 107 deaths, has led governments to impose restrictions – that also affected its football league – in the northern part of the country.
As a result of this, revenue has fallen 44 percent in the first week of closure with total receipts down by 76 percent according to the country’s media authority.
With cases in Italy, the first in Europe, other countries like France have called for a temporary stop to all indoor events with more than 5,000 people in attendance, and Switzerland has banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people until 15 March. This may further contribute to plunge in global film revenue for the year.
Audiences in the Middle East are also reportedly staying away from cinemas following multiple confirmed cases of COVID-19 while Africa which hasn’t recorded a lot of cases and has not felt this.
On Wednesday, the BBC reported that the release of the new James Bond film: “No Time to Die” was pushed back by seven months as coronavirus continues to spread. It will now come out in the UK on November 12, and in the US on November 25.
Many other movies may follow as film companies have started cancelling events.
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