Last week, James Bond producers took the decision to delay the release of Daniel Craig’s No Time To Die by seven months. Following the coronavirus outbreak, there are obvious financial implications, what with over 70,000 cinemas shut in China, the world’s second-largest box office audience. But as the illness spreads, there are concerns similar closures could take place in other major regions, while the public may be more inclined to avoid public spaces like a cinema.
And now another big sequel release has been delayed in the wake of coronavirus spreading across the UK.
Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway was set for release on March 27 in the UK, with a US release due a week later.
According to the BBC, the sequel to the 2018 British hit has been pushed back to August 7, making it a four-month delay.
Peter Rabbit 2’s release was just a week before No Time To Die and right by Disney’s Mulan.
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As it stands, Disney’s latest live-action remake will not be delayed, although its Chinese release has been.
While this may be seen as something of a gamble for the studio, having both Bond and a popular family film vacate the end of March leaves Mulan with less box office competitors around its opening weekend.
As of now, cinemas remain open across the UK but Northern Ireland’s biggest chain has implemented a new policy in response to coronavirus.
Omniplex are asking customers to leave every second seat unoccupied, so no one is sitting directly next to anyone else.
The cinema chain’s director Paul John Anderson said: “This means we’ve reduced our overall capacity by 50 per cent and it will give cinemagoers peace of mind.
Meanwhile, cinemas in some parts of France have been closed to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
Unsurprisingly, the outbreak is seeing the global box office suffer, even with films like No Time To Die and Peter Rabbit 2 shifting their release.
According to Variety, China’s box office has plummeted $1.91 billion.
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The country’s Ent Group has stated that cinemas are unlikely to re-open this month.
Chen Bei, deputy secretary-general of the Beijing municipal government, said: “Judging from the current situation, the film industry is not equipped to resume business yet, and we have not approved industry’s demands to resume business as of now.”
Meanwhile, it’s possible coronavirus could hit other upcoming Hollywood releases.
Both Universal’s Fast and Furious 9 and Marvel Studios’ Black Widow are set for May releases.
As it stands, like Mulan, both blockbusters are still set for their current release dates.
But no doubt the studios will be watching the spread of coronavirus carefully to judge if it is more financially viable to delay like Bond and Peter Rabbit 2.
Similarly, June releases Wonder Woman 1984 and Scoob! could be affected.
Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway is now set for release in UK cinemas on August 7, 2020.
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