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5 March, 2020 12:11:31 PM
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Global film industry facing $5bn loss amid coronavirus outbreak

Hollywoodreporter.com
Global film industry facing $5bn loss amid coronavirus outbreak
Two workers wearing face masks at a promotional stand for Disney’s ‘Mulan’ in an almost empty shopping mall in Beijing on February 16. Photo : Collected

China’s theaters are closed, while box office revenue in South Korea and Italy has dipped and “the outlook is unpredictable.”

In 2019, the international box office soared to a record $31.1 billion, contributing to a worldwide haul of $42.5 billion, likewise an all-time high.

But the celebration by the global film industry has quickly been replaced by anxiety because of coronavirus, which many public health officials are now calling a global pandemic — one that could keep populations around the world away from public spaces, like multiplexes, for weeks or months.

As of late Monday, the virus, which causes a respiratory illness known as COVID-19, had infected over 90,000 and claimed more than 3,000 lives worldwide. The vast majority of the deaths have been within China, where the virus emerged, but more new cases are now being found outside of the country than within it. South Korea saw its confirmed infections nearly double over the weekend to 4,300.

Movie theaters have been shuttered in China for weeks, but the virus is beginning to heavily impact moviegoing in South Korea, Italy and even Japan, the world’s third-biggest film market. Some analysts believe COVID-19 could already result in a loss of at least $5 billion from diminished box office revenue and impacted production. That number could grow if moviegoing falters in other markets, including the U.S., where there have been 100 confirmed cases and six deaths to date.

In China, the world’s second-largest territory in terms of the box office, some 70,000 movie theaters remain closed amid the outbreak, and the ongoing moratorium on releases has cut deeply into revenues of both Hollywood and local studios.

Ticket sales in the traditional Chinese New Year holiday period, from Jan. 24 to Feb. 23 this year, were a tiny $4.2 million, compared to $1.76 billion over the same stretch in 2019, figures from consultancy Artisan Gateway show. Analysts estimate that the loss in China through the end of February could come in at $2 billion or more. Business at multiplexes isn’t expected to resume in a significant way for many more weeks, even months.

Over the weekend, box office revenue in South Korea, the world’s fifth-largest market, was down a staggering 80 percent year-over-year. The No. 1 film was Universal and Blumhouse’s horror pic The Invisible Man, which debuted to a relatively tepid $1.1 million. “Theaters are open, but they might as well not be,” one distributor noted to The Hollywood Reporter.

In February, revenue in South Korea slid nearly 70 percent. According to KOBIS, the country’s national box office service, ticket sales for last month totaled KRW 62 billion ($52 million) from 7.3 million admissions, compared to KRW 189 billion ($158 million) from 22.3 million admissions over the same period last year.

TH

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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