Coronavirus outbreak sapping as much as $5 billion from global box office

(LOS ANGELES) — With the COVID-19 coronavirus spreading worldwide, the prognosis is dire for the worldwide box office. The Hollywood Reporter notes the outbreak could lead to a $5 billion decline for the motion picture industry.

Some 70 thousand movie theaters remain shuttered in China, the apparent origin of the potentially deadly respiratory virus, and so are multiplexes in Japan. Together, the two countries represent the second and third largest movie markets in the world, respectively, after the U.S.

The Hollywood Reporter notes that ticket sales in the traditional Chinese New Year holiday period, which ran from from Jan. 24 to Feb. 23, generated a mere $4.2 million — compared to $1.76 billion over the same holiday period in 2019.

Additionally, as coronavirus cases continue to grow in Italy and South Korea, gatherings in public places like movie theaters are also feeling the brunt.

The global box office is obviously a large potential pool of revenue for Hollywood studios releasing their movies for foreign fans, but the COVID-19 outbreak has also led studios to change their shooting plans. As reported, Paramount delayed plans to shoot the seventh Mission: Impossible film in Venice, Italy, and the Italy outbreak caused a similar production pause on the Dwayne Johnson/Ryan Reynolds film Red Notice.

In the U.S., 74 coronavirus cases have been confirmed, with at least two deaths being blamed on the illness.

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