Coronavirus Hits Industry Hard

by Meher Tatna March 12, 2020
Effects of the coromavirus, London. 2020

ming yeung/getty images

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic already rampant in 114 countries, and Donald Trump had to walk back his comments that the virus was a hoax on national TV.

Tom Hanks tweeted from Australia that he and his wife Rita Wilson had tested positive for the virus on the set of his Elvis Presley movie, and have been quarantined.

The annual exhibitor’s convention, CinemaCon in Las Vegas, was finally canceled by the National Association of Theatre Owners following days of foot-dragging. After much back-and-forth with health authorities, Disney Parks closed Disneyland and the whole Anaheim, California park system for the remainder of the month of March. And powerful representation agencies CAA and ICM closed their offices and sent all staff home, to work remotely.

The 2019-20 basketball seasons have been suspended by the NBA after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the virus. The traditional St Patrick's Day celebrations have been canceled- in Ireland.

SWSX, the massive music, art, and technology festival that attracts over 100,000 fans was canceled by the city of Austin for the first time in 34 years on March 6 after the mayor of Austin declared a local disaster in the city. Apple, Netflix, and Amazon had already pulled out. Coachella, the music festival to be held in Indio, California, on two weekends in April with acts like Lana Del Ray and Rage Against the Machine, has been postponed to October. In San Diego, California, WonderCon, a sister event of the famous ComicCon, scheduled for April, was postponed with no new date (ComicCon, scheduled for July, is still on, according to the organizers.)

Production shutdowns include the WB show Riverdale in Vancouver after a crew member was in contact with a person who tested positive for the virus, and the Prague shoot for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the MCU film that stars Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan. This shoot has been particularly bedeviled as it had to shut down filming in Puerto Rico in January because of an earthquake.

Survivor will postpone production on Season 41 till May. The Amazing Race has canceled production of Season 44 indefinitely.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The View, Live with Kelly and Ryan and Tamron Hall will all be shot without live studio audiences starting next week. So will The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy will also tape without studio audiences.

PaleyFest LA planned for March 13-22 with a lineup that included Dolly Parton, Patrick Stewart, and the casts of Modern Family, The Mandalorian and Curb Your Enthusiasm was canceled and is to be rescheduled, date unknown. It was to be held at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood following the shuttering of its namesake HQ in Beverly Hills.

Hulu has canceled the premiere of Little Fires Everywhere starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington scheduled for March 12. HBO has canceled the premiere of After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News in New York. It’s also postponing its Jon Stewart-hosted Night of Too Many Stars: America Unites for Autism that was to be held on April 18 at Madison Square Garden.

AFI has postponed its April 25th Life Achievement Award tribute to Julie Andrews to later in the summer.

Quibi, which is launching on April 6, has canceled its red carpet launch and party in Culver City which was to have taken place the day before.

The release date for the new Bond film No Time to Die is now November 25 instead of April 8, after its April China premiere was canceled. MGM and Universal decided to take the financial hit by doing so, but Mulan’s release will go on as scheduled on March 27 without opening in the territory where it was expected to make the most money. Sony’s Peter Rabbit release has been pushed back to August from April.

MipTV, the Cannes TV market, and conference is canceled. But the Cannes Film Festival, starting May 12 is still on, according to its president Pierre Lescure, who told Le Figaro that it won’t be canceled unless the coronavirus outbreak worsens.

The LA Times Festival of Books at USC originally set for April 18-19 has been rescheduled to October 3-4. The HFPA and the LA Times canceled their second LA Press Freedom Week which was to be held April 28 – May 2.

According to Deadline, cinemas are closed in China, Italy, France, the Czech Republic, Iran, Poland, India, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. There are partial closures in S. Korea, Hong Kong, France and Japan.