Movies & TV / Columns

Looking At The Coronavirus’ Impact on Hollywood

March 7, 2020 | Posted by Steve Gustafson

SCENE: Steve is sitting at his laptop, not typing, looking thoughtfully out the window

Steve: “If only I had some way to craft an article, using all the attention the coronavirus is getting. I’d need to find a way to integrate it with movies or TV or something…if only…”

Steve looks at the screen and sees the headline: “South by Southwest 2020 has been canceled due to growing concerns over the coronavirus epidemic.”

Steve (Whispering): “Jackpot.”

And here we are.  The cancelling of SXSW caught a lot of attention. Austin’s mayor, Steve Adler, declared a countywide “state of disaster” and issued a formal order canceling the popular music, film, and tech conference. In a subsequent statement, SXSW organizers said they “will faithfully follow the city’s directions.”

This came on the heels of the Emerald City Con in Seattle being cancelled as well. 

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to grow, we’re seeing it impacting industries on a global scale, including the entertainment industry. More and more Hollywood executives are making sweeping changes to production schedules, premieres, travel, conferences, festivals, and press tours in the name of protecting public health. 

China and Italy, two countries with the highest numbers of cases, have temporarily closed movie theaters and it was announced that production for projects like The Amazing Race, The Bachelor, and Mission: Impossible 7 have changed due to the coronavirus. 

It goes even further. Paramount delayed the release of Sonic the Hedgehog in China, the next James Bond movie, No Time to Die had its release date postponed, and the Chinese release date for Mulan has been delayed indefinitely.

Converts, festivals, and conventions are either cancelling or in discussion to cancel. The coronavirus has caused a far-reaching rumble all over the world. 

Which brings us to the Cannes Film Festival.

In a statement sent to Deadline, the festival and market said: “We understand the concern that has been expressed following the postponement of Cannes Series and the cancellation of MIPTV, but as of today nothing indicates that the Cannes Film Festival will not take place.”

To be even clearer, on Friday the organizers sent out a press release that countered any major industry withdrawal from the world’s most prestigious film festival, in which they claimed accreditation to the 2020 event, due to take place May 12-23, were continuing at an “intensive pace” and had actually risen 9% over last year.

We’ll see how that resolve holds up. 

It does beg the question, how many of you are avoiding the movie theaters?