As anxiety around coronavirus increases, Hollywood finds itself in a vulnerable place. Some analysts predict the industry has already lost $5 billion from overseas box office closures and production stoppages. The new James Bond movie “No Time to Die” is getting pushed from an April to November release. Apple and Netflix dropped out of the upcoming SXSW Festival. And Disney’s upcoming film “Mulan,” which was made with a Chinese market in mind, now faces a total closure of Chinese movie theaters.
Disney also has to worry about theme parks, hotels, and cruise lines around the world. So far, none of the U.S. Disney parks have closed, but with spring break and then summer break coming up, new Disney CEO Bob Chapek will have difficult decisions to make. Disney is hyper-aware of the power of its brand and knows that closing the U.S. parks could send a message of panic to the rest of the industry and country at large.
Coronavirus could reshape the industry in other ways too. If fears continue to intensify, and Americans stop going to movie theaters, film studios may have to start releasing movies directly on streaming services so viewers could watch at home.
Matt Belloni, editorial director of The Hollywood Reporter, joins Kim Masters to discuss these news stories of the week.