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Health, Hollywood and Hearts: How the Coronavirus Is Affecting Big Box-Office Movies Like “Mulan”

Coronavirus has wreaked havoc on countries and cities around the world. More than 83,000 people have been affected by it and almost 3,000 people have died. The epidemic started in the capital of Central China’s Hubei province, occupying over eleven million citizens, and has continued to spread to countries such as Italy, Japan and South Korea.

China is the home country of Liu Yifei, the star of Disney’s live-action remake of the 1998 Grammy-nominated film Mulan. The remake of the film was considered to be Disney’s riskiest live-action adaption to date before the outbreak, with an all-Asian cast and a budget of over $200 million. The film was hoping to reach huge viewership and resonate with audiences around the world, especially the Chinese market. ComScore analyst Paul Dergarabedian told The Hollywood Reporter (THR) “It certainly has worldwide and global appeal, but there’s no denying that this is a very important film for the Chinese market.” 

Outline of Mulan with Gold Streak and Film

It is likely that Disney will see a big hit in revenue – $1 billion in lost revenue – and viewership if the 70,000 theaters around China remain closed. As the March 27th release date approaches it is unlikely and remains unlikely that these theaters will remain closed, however, Liu Yifei prays for resolution, telling the THR, “I think it’s obviously a very complicated situation and I’m not an expert…I just really hope this gets resolved soon.”

It is important to recognize the detrimental effect that the coronavirus is not only having on individuals and their families but also on large multi-million-dollar industries and companies such as Disney and the film making industry. The newest movies that the virus has threatened to affect are the next James Bond movie and Mission Impossible. The April premiere of the next James Bond Film No Time to Die along with the March release of Mulan has been canceled in China and is likely to cancel other premiers of Hollywood’s newest movies.

Empty movie seats
Photo by Felix Mooneeram on Unsplash

The reason why this is so detrimental is that “China is likely the movie’s biggest market,” says Shawn Robbins, chief analyst for Boxoffice.com to Business Insider. Even if the theaters open back up in China, Paul Dergarabedian states that “lingering concerns about the outbreak could still keep people away from cinemas.” The spread of the virus sparks concerns for other global markets to be affected and public spaces. In Italy, a new country affected by the virus, the AMC CEO Adam Aron reports that “22 of the 47 AMC theaters in Italy will be closed for a week “as a precaution” in cooperation with the local government.”

Though it is not expected to occur in the United States any time soon the big box office movies that are conceptualized and produced in Hollywood are being affected. Box-office numbers from lack of viewership around the globe are evident and likely to decline in the future. Until more research is done, and a hopeful vaccine is found, it is important to stay updated with the virus and its effects on health. Stay precautionary and aware of your surroundings. But if you can, go see the Live-Action Disney Film Mulan in theaters March 27!

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Hey! My name is Helena Denny, I am a Media Communications Studies student at Florida State University!
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