Report: Hollywood Studios Brace to Lose Billions in Asia over Coronavirus

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Universal Pictures
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Universal Pictures

Hollywood studios are reportedly bracing to lose billion of dollars in ticket sales in Asia and other countries due to fears surrounding the coronavirus as major blockbusters including Mulan, No Time to Die, and F9 (Fast & Furious 9) are set to roll out around the world.

Variety reported that major studios are preparing for a dip in moviegoing in China, South Korea, Japan, and other countries hit by the coronavirus. But these fears appear so far to be based on speculation since the trade publication cited anonymous “studio executives” who said they are taking “a wait-and-see” approach as the number of hotspots expands.

Those executives said the spread of coronavirus could possibly result in billions of dollars in lost box-office revenue. Most studios are assembling advisory teams to assess the potential impact of the disease, according to the report.

China ranks as the second largest movie market in the world and remains a vital market for Hollywood blockbusters.

The indefinite closure of many cinemas around China spells bad news for upcoming releases, like Disney’s Mulan, the live-action movie based on the studio’s 1998 animated feature.

Disney has been betting that Mulan‘s predominantly Chinese cast would help the movie perform well at the Chinese box office. But the $200 million release now faces an uncertain future in China. Disney president of production Sean Bailey recently told The Hollywood Reporter that he’s “looking at it day by day.”

Disney has already canceled plans for Mulan‘s glitzy premiere in China, and Universal has done the same with No Time to Die, the latest James Bond movie.

Other Hollywood blockbusters set to open worldwide in the next few months include F9, Wonder Woman 1984, and Marvel’s Black Widow.

Variety reported that many Hollywood studios are in regular contact with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization as “they assess the rapidly changing situation.”

Any negative impact from the coronavirus would only compound Hollywood’s box office woes. The domestic box office dropped close to 4 percent last year as U.S. moviegoers continued to reject the industry’s assembly line of sequels and reboots.

AMC Theatres, the country’s biggest cinema chain, posted  fourth-quarter loss due partially to lower U.S. theater attendance. The Dalian Wanda-owned cinema chain doesn’t have cinemas in China or South Korea and said it so far has experienced “little or no pain” from coronavirus fears.

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