Experts say Covid-19 reduced global box office sales, stagnated film production, costing the movie industry at least $ 5 billion.
According to Hollywood Reporter, the disease reduced sales and delayed movie production. Since the beginning of the year, about 70,000 movie theaters in China – the second largest market in the world – have closed because of the outbreak of nCoV, which greatly affects global box office revenue. On the occasion of the Lunar New Year (from January 24 to February 23), film sales in Chinese theaters reached only 4.2 million USD, compared with 1.76 billion USD in the same period last year. Experts say the Chinese film market may lose about US $ 2 billion or more in the first two months of the year.
The Korean, Italian and Japanese film markets also fell when many cinemas closed in February due to complicated disease outbreak.
The Korean box office earned $ 52 million (from 7.3 million tickets) last month, down nearly 70% from $ 158 million (22.3 million tickets) in the same period last year. The situation is worse than the outbreak of the MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak in 2015. At that time, the audience dropped by more than 40%, but no cinemas closed. , and the market revived about a month later. This is not like Covid-19. It is very unusual that the number of tickets sold per day is lower than 100,000, but that is happening and the future is unpredictable.
CGV closed all nine screens in the Daegu epidemic, halving the number of screenings in other regions in Korea. The company conducts daily temperature checks with theater staff, allowing office workers to work at home instead of going to work. Other cinema chains like Lotte and Mega Box also cut screenings and laid off staff because of the disease. Korean film crews simultaneously announced that they would stop releasing movies indefinitely. The black and white version of Parasite – winning the “Best Picture” at Oscar 2020 – delayed its release and waited for the disease to end.
Italy currently closes more than 850 cinemas in the North, accounting for about half of the cinemas in the country. The nationwide revenue therefore decreased by 44% compared to the week before the closing order and decreased by 76% compared to the same period last year. Mr. Francesco Rutelli – Chairman of the Italian Association of Film, Audiovisual Industry and Multimedia – said the Covid-19 epidemic came in the context that the box office of this country is showing signs of prosperity, increasing 22% in January 2020.
In Japan, the box office revenue last week was estimated to decrease by 10 to 15% and is likely to decline sharply in the near future. Recently, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for the postponement and cancellation of crowded sports and cultural events. Movie studios allow moviegoers to cancel pre-booked tickets and get money back if they don’t want to go to the theater due to translation concerns. A series of blockbusters like Doraemon the Movie: Nobita’s New Dinosaur, Fukushima 50 were delayed indefinitely.
Cannes Film Festival (France) – one of the three biggest film festivals in the world – is having difficulty after a person in the region was confirmed to be infected with nCoV. On Indiewire, the organizers said it was “too early” to know if the event was canceled. However, they said they will closely monitor the outbreak, working with the government to ensure the safety and health of the program.
In 2019, global box office revenue reached $ 42.5 billion, of which the international market (excluding North America) accounted for about $ 31.1 billion – a high level compared to previous years. Movie markets like China and Japan all grew strongly. Before the Covid-19 epidemic, many experts predicted that China would overtake North America – becoming the world’s largest film market in 2020.