A global health crisis stemming from the spread of the novel Coronavirus COVID-19 is dominating headlines across the globe. Boxoffice Pro is tracking the latest updates on the theatrical market.
March 12 UPDATE
Studios have begun making further changes to the release schedule, with notable release delays coming from Universal and Paramount.
Universal Pictures pushed back the release date of F9, the latest entry in The Fast and the Furious franchise, from May 22 to April 2, 2021.
Paramount has removed three titles from the schedule entirely: A Quiet Place Part II and Blue Story, originally scheduled for March 20, and The Lovebirds, originally scheduled for April 3. The studio has not confirmed new dates for the films in question.
Cinema closures continue to mount across Europe. Boxoffice Pro has confirmed a steep decrease in listed showtimes in Czech Republic following the country’s government announcement of a 30-day state of emergency due to the Coronavirus.
Kinepolis announced it would be shuttering its cinemas in Belgium until at least March 31. Kinepolis is one of the world’s largest exhibition circuits with 1,079 screens globally. In Europe, it operates 55 cinemas across Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Poland. The company recently entered the North American market with the acquisition of Landmark Cinemas of Canada and U.S. exhibitor MJR Digital Cinemas, adding 46 cinemas in Canada and 10 in the United States to its global circuit.
“In view of recent developments, Kinepolis has decided, in consultation with the local authorities concerned, to close all Belgian Kinepolis cinemas from tomorrow (March, 13) until at least 31 March,” read a statement delivered by the company. “In the other countries, consultation with the relevant authorities is ongoing and for a number of cinemas, measures have been taken to limit the occupancy per room, as well as a number of additional measures, such as a stronger spread of the starting time of the film screenings. We are also preparing for additional measures in other countries, but these decisions will always be taken in close consultation with the local authorities.”
Kinepolis added that the decision will have “a severe impact on the group’s financial results for the first half of the year,” depending on the duration of the closure and the number of cinemas involved.
In India, PVR Cinemas has confirmed it will be closing its sites in the states of Kerala, Delhi ,and UT of Jammu & Kashmir in accordance to a precautionary advisory by local officials. PVR operates a total of 841 screens across 176 locations in India and Sri Lanka. No further closures beyond the affected regions in India have been independently confirmed by Boxoffice Pro.
In the United States, Film at Lincoln Center, the cinema division of the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts, announced its would suspend operations through the month of March. Two of its most influential events, New Directors/New Films and the Chaplin Award Gala, will be rescheduled for later this fall.
“As the COVID-19 situation develops, Film at Lincoln Center’s top priority remains the health, wellness, and safety of our staff, audiences, and artists,” said Film at Lincoln Center executive director Lesli Klainberg in a statement. “We remain committed to our nonprofit mission—supporting the art and elevating the craft of cinema.”
The IFC Center, another specialty cinema in New York, reached out to patrons today announcing they would be reducing capacity in their auditoriums by 50 percent, echoing similar initiatives by other cinemas around the world.