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Bond is sidelined, Mulan’s on the fence: How COVID-19 coronavirus is upending entertainment

Here’s the state of play as the pandemic starts to spread in the United States.

Bond is sidelined, Mulan’s on the fence: How COVID-19 coronavirus is upending entertainment
[Photo: Snezhana Ryzhkova/iStock; Djahan/iStock]

The world’s top analysts have predicted that the global film industry faces a $5 billion loss due to COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). China’s entertainment industry was the first to come to a halt in January amid the fallout, with over 70,000 movie theaters (plus the Hong Kong and Shanghai Disneyland theme parks) temporarily shut down. In Korea, which has also been hard hit and is the fifth-largest box office in the world, local films such as Call and Innocence have been delayed amid low attendance and fewer screenings, so that theater teams can sanitize auditoriums.

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There had been hope that business would be back up and running in Asia before American releases were affected, but it’s clear that things will continue to get worse everywhere for the foreseeable future.

The full economic ramifications of COVID-19 fallout are still unknown for Hollywood specifically, but studios there have sprung into action by convening strategy teams to assess plans of action in the wake of this worldwide disaster.

Here’s what we know so far—and what’s at stake in the months to come:

Movie theaters

AMC theaters are still open in the United States. It closed theaters for a week in Northern Italy and has no theaters in China, South Korea, or Iran. CEO Adam Aron told Deadline that AMC has “felt little to no pain” in the U.S. and Northern Europe so far, but that the chain is taking advice from government and medical experts to ensure the safety of its guests across 15 countries and 1,000 theaters. But as more localities declare emergencies and some companies encourage social separation, things could change drastically rather quickly.

Imax theaters are still open. The brand’s U.S. Twitter account is promoting Onward, which is out now, and A Quiet Place Part II, which is scheduled for release on March 20.

Alamo Drafthouse is still operating business as usual, and it plans to rerun Austin Powers in lieu of the postponed James Bond film No Time To Die.

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Movies

The upcoming James Bond flick No Time To Die had its worldwide release pushed back from April 10 to November. But the 25th Bond film is far from the only high-profile release expected in the next few months.

Disney’s Mulan was set for worldwide release on March 27, but it probably won’t be coming out in China anytime soon. On March 3, Disney’s president of production said that the company is looking at the situation day by day.

Sony has several international blockbusters lined up for release through 2021. Bloodshot (starring Vin Diesel) is scheduled for March 13, while Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway is scheduled for April 13 (just in time for Easter). Greyhound (starring Tom Hanks), kicks off the USA’s summer movie season on May 8. Later, international titles from July through October are Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Morbius (starring Jared Leto), and Venom 2, but hopefully things will be under control by then.

Warner Bros’ next international release The Way Back (starring Ben Affleck) comes out today, March 6. Scoob! kicks off the entertainment conglomerate’s summer season on May 15, with Wonder Woman 1984 following in June.

Paramount’s A Quiet Place Part II premieres on March 20. The Love Birds (Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani) will be in theaters locally on April 3, but its official world premiere is supposed to take place at SXSW on March 13. Paramount hasn’t pulled out of SXSW yet. Finally, The Spongebob Movie: On the Run comes out on May 22.

Universal will release Trolls World Tour on April 10, then F9 (the latest Fast and the Furious) on May 22, followed by Jordan Peele’s Candyman in June.

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Production delays

Paramount Pictures has postponed a three-week shoot of Mission: Impossible 7 in Venice, Italy.

CBS suspended filming of the upcoming 33rd season of The Amazing Race. The long-running global competition series was three weeks into production, according to Variety, and the contestants had visited England and Scotland. The 32nd season has already been filmed and completed, but it doesn’t have a release date yet.

Industry events

Disney Plus canceled its European press launch in London, which was slated for March 5. The event was supposed to include presentations from key executives and creatives with guest appearances.

Fox canceled its annual upfronts scheduled for March 24 in New York City, but its upcoming TV shows will air as scheduled.

SXSW is still scheduled to run from March 13-March 22, but many major corporations have pulled out, putting a bit of a damper on some of the event’s luster as a launching pad for new movies and series. So far, SXSW has lost Amazon, Netflix, HBO, and Apple TV.

With Amazon Studios pulling out, its two world episodic premieres of the sci-fi show Upload and Tales From the Loop won’t happen. In addition, Amazon is pulling a photo/video activation with Entertainment Weekly as well as a party on Saturday night.

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Netflix canceled a panel for #BlackExcellence, featuring Kenya Barris and Rashida Jones, and screenings of five films, including Uncorked (an African-American drama starring Courtney Vance and Niecy Nash, set to debut on Netflix on March 27), and the following documentaries: A Secret Love, L.A. Originals, Mucho Mucho Amor, and Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics.

Apple TV’s events included an animated musical series titled Central Park, a documentary series called Home, a world premiere of Spike Jonze’s Beastie Boys Story, and the premiere of Little America, including a panel discussion with creators Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon.

HBO’s parent company WarnerMedia pulled out, which means there will be no Watchmen panel, which was supposed to star Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross in conversation with Damon Lindelof.

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