Would the Coronavirus Stop You from Seeing a Movie?

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Would the Coronavirus Stop You From Seeing a Movie?

By Allyson Vannatta, Staff Writer

According to a new study, Americans aren’t letting the coronavirus stop them from attending movies, concerts or plays. Well, at least not yet anyways.

The study showed that unless the disease spreads to the community they live in, people will continue to live their lives as normal.

Morning Consult conducted a survey of consumer behavior from Feb. 28 to March 1 that polled 2,200 people.

Those 2,200 people said, “They are nearly more nor less likely to go to the cinema or to see a play.” Forty-seven percent said the virus won’t impact their decision to visit an amusement park or go to a concert.

However, the results shifted when asked questions on if the virus impacted the community they live in every day.

Sixty-two percent said if the virus hits their hometowns, they’re less likely to go to the movies, theater, or amusement park, while 63% said they’re less likely to go to a concert.

As the virus spreads, some companies have dropped out of events or festivals.

The popular SXSW Festival taking place in Austin, Texas in March has seen participants, such as Twitter and Facebook, pull out of the event in order to try to keep employees safe from the virus.

The threat of the virus continues to grow in the United States, as six people have died from the virus and more than 100 cases have been reported, according to Variety.

As the threat of the virus grows in the U.S., other parts of the world, like China, continue to feel the burden of the virus in business and the box office. The Hollywood Reporter speculates the worldwide box office could lose up to $5 billion during this time.

“The situation now is much worse than what we’ve seen during the outbreak of [Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus] MERS in 2015,” said an official at the Korea Film Commission. “The audience dropped to more than 40 percent then, but there was no such thing as theater closures and the market revived after about a month. That’s not going to be the case with coronavirus. It’s very unusual to see a daily admission fall below 100,000. But that is happening now, and the outlook is unpredictable.”

China’s box office suffered a $1.91 billion blow over the last two months due to the coronavirus, and it doesn’t seem theaters will re-open anytime soon.

Comscore, a box office data company, says box office numbers for January and February totaled a mere $238 million. During the same period of time in 2019, numbers were at $2.148 billion and $2.378 billion in 2018 during that time.

The huge numbers in 2019 helped bring China’s overall box office numbers to a record $9.2 billion, rising 5.4%, according to Variety.

Movieguide® previously reported theaters in China could open by the end of March or early April, however it doesn’t seem likely the shutters will come off in March at all.

The movie business as a whole in China will also continue to be closed according to a member of the Chinese government.

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,”

However, a joint directive from Beijing Center for Diseases Prevention and Control and Beijing Municipal Film Bureau did set some strict guidelines businesses can adhere to if they wish to try and resume business.

Variety reports these guidelines:

“Cinema operators must seek approval from the authorities to re-open movie theaters and adopt stringent measures such as selling tickets on alternate rows, requiring movie-goers to register with their real names and personal details, and auditoriums to be thoroughly disinfected after each screening.

Film crews with less than 50 people can resume filming in Beijing if they are approved, but only if their body temperature does not exceed 37.3 degree Celsius. All film crew members must wear masks throughout the production, except for performers.

But film crews with more than 50 people will not be allowed to resume filming in Beijing until the plague is gone. Crew members travelling from affected areas such as Hubei province are not allowed to take part in any production in the city.”

The rest of the world is also taking precautions to try and stay healthy in the midst of the coronavirus.

The virus has canceled or postponed several events and business ventures around the world. The Louvre in Paris is closed indefinitely, K-pop group BTS has canceled all tour dates in Seoul and South Korea, Tokyo Disneyland has closed until March 15th, and Disney+ canceled their European launch event scheduled for March 4th and 5th.

A decision has not yet been made about the 2020 Summer Olympics set to be in Japan.

The New York Times reports the coronavirus is on every continent except Antarctica. It has infected nearly 90,000 people and killed over 3,000.

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