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Crisis: Hollywood in a corona coma: filming stops and billions in losses

A deadly virus from Asia is spreading explosively around the world. States enact strict quarantine rules, streets and shops are deserted. The mysterious pandemic with flu symptoms is killing more and more victims.

MEV-1 is the name of the virus that becomes a global threat in the Hollywood thriller “Contagion”. Nine years ago, US director Steven Soderbergh released the disaster film with stars such as Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet and Marion Cotillard.

Due to the corona virus crisis, the factually staged thriller is suddenly in high demand again with streaming services. What was gripping entertainment in 2011 now has a bitter aftertaste. The Covid 19 pandemic with a rapidly increasing number of infected and dead people shows more and more parallels with the “Made in Hollywood” disaster scenarios. And the corona virus is now scaring the entertainment industry.

Hollywood favorite Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson were the first celebrity couple to be surprised by the news that they were both infected with Sars-CoV-2. The entertainment business is almost lame. Film and TV productions are stopped, movie starts worldwide are canceled, trade fairs and festivals are canceled. Industry experts anticipate box office losses of up to $ 20 billion this year if the downtime spans several months.

The first slump came in January with the closure of cinemas in China, the country of origin of the novel virus, the second largest cinema market after the USA and Canada. In February the temporary end for Tom Cruise and «Mission: Impossible 7». For three weeks, director Christopher McQuarrie wanted to shoot in Italy, where the virus was already rampant.

Things are moving fast: at the beginning of March, the launch of the new James Bond film “No Time to Die” will be postponed by seven months to November – “after careful consideration and a thorough assessment of the global cinema market,” according to the sober reasoning. The entire advertising tour in China had previously been canceled due to the corona virus.

In the last few days there have been other blockbusters: “Fast & Furious 9”, “The New Mutants”, “Mulan”, “Peter Hase 2”, “A Quiet Place 2”. Fans now have to wait longer until these films come to the cinema. John Krasinski, director of the horror film “A Quiet Place 2”, commented on the delay on Instagram. One should experience his film together with other people in the cinema. “Now is obviously not the right time for it.” After China, Italy and Poland, more and more cinemas are closing in other countries.

In the United States, most cinemas remain open for the time being, but they only issue half of the tickets to create more space and thus more distance between visitors. The Hollywood studios radically implement the recommendation “Social Distancing”, that is, to keep a distance from one another in order to avoid infection.

The Disney studio announced a massive shooting stop on Friday, avoiding encounters on the set. Major projects such as “The Little Mermaid”, Guillermo del Toros “Nightmare Alley” and Ridley Scott’s historical drama “The Last Duel” with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck are affected. As a precaution, the streaming service Netflix wants to stop producing films and TV shows in the USA and Canada for at least two weeks.

The positive corona virus test by Tom Hanks on the set in Australia led to the immediate termination of the new production by director Baz Luhrmann. Studio Warner Bros.’s biopic is an untitled film biography of rock’n’roll legend Elvis Presley, in which Hanks plays its manager Colonel Tom Parker. The two-time Oscar winner and his wife announced the diagnosis on social media on Thursday. They were now in quarantine and would “take every day as it comes,” Hanks said emphatically.

Meanwhile, industry experts in Hollywood are giving a grim forecast. You are already projecting the possible billion dollar losses from the corona crisis. The box office could be short of 20 billion dollars this year alone, especially if the lucrative foreign markets collapse, reported on Friday the film “Hollywood Reporter”. In 2019, more than $ 42 billion went to Hollywood’s coffers worldwide.

The annual trade fair CinemaCon has already been canceled, at which the film theater industry wanted to present the latest Hollywood projects in Las Vegas at the end of March. The renowned Tribeca film festivals in New York and the International Film Festival in San Francisco (both scheduled for April) have also been canceled. These are bad harbingers for Cannes, where the 73rd Film Festival is (still) on the schedule in mid-May. A cancellation would hit the already ailing international industry hard.

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