The coronavirus is severely impacting China’s box office — and Hollywood blockbusters.
“No Time to Die”, the final installment of the Daniel Craig-led James Bond franchise, was forced to push out its global release date by seven months with the epidemic raging in key markets. MGM, Universal and Bond producers cited “careful consideration of the global theatrical marketplace,” as theaters around the world remain shut down because of the outbreak.
So far, the virus has infected over 100,000 people worldwide.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the move will likely cost MGM $30 million to $50 million in marketing and promotional expenses, but the cost could have been even greater had the film stayed the course.
Some estimates suggest that the outbreak would shave 30% off the movie’s expected $1 billion haul — a possible $300 million loss for a movie that cost roughly $245 million to make.
China has shut down nearly 70,000 movie theaters, with no plans to re-open until at least April.
The “Bond” movies have done particularly well in the country, with 2015’s “Spectre” earning $84 million, just from China alone.
Although it’s possible that other blockbuster titles will follow suit, it appears as though this is a unique situation to “Bond” in the short-term.
Overall, the global box office is expected to take a possible $5 billion hit due to the shift in production schedules and theater closures, amid what JPMorgan Chase analysts called a “softness in recent weeks” in movie box office receipts.
Hollywood’s close ties with China box office
The relationship between Hollywood and China has grown stronger over the past several years, especially as China has gained momentum at the box office.
A PwC report previously predicted that China’s cinema industry was on track to surpass the U.S.’s this year — although that timeline now seems unlikely given the coronavirus outbreak. Since the end of January, China has only seen box office sales at around $4 million — a drastic drop compared to the over $1.5 billion results from the same period last year.
Films with Chinese investors accounted for 20% of U.S ticket sales in 2018, verses just 3.8% five years ago, according to Interpret data cited by “The Wall Street Journal.”
Overall, about 70% of U.S. box office revenue comes from overseas — with China leading the charge as the world’s second largest box office market.
This article is an update to an earlier version that published on February 22.
Alexandra Canal is a Producer at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193