Coronavirus: The Global Shutdown Update (17th March)…

The global effects of the COVID-19 fallout will have a dramatic impact beyond mere audience inconvenience...

While the entertainment industry might not be everyone’s priority right now, the cost of the Coronavirus may be causing practical hardhsips beyond the physical symptoms. With vast swathes of the industry shut down, the risk not only to businesses but the income of individuals and their families could be breath-taking. Each day is bringing additions to projects and events that are shuttering their productions and possibly placing people in financial hardship – with no immediate end in sight. For viewers, it’s far less traumatic, but no less dramatic in scale.

As of Tuesday, it was formally announced that the completed Marvel movie Black Widow, starring Scarlett Johansson, has been – as expected – pulled form its 1st May release, the latest casualty of the Coronavirus’s impact on the entertainment industry and landscape. (Marvel had previously confirmed a halt on filming on their upcoming tv shows:  Falcon & the Winter Soldier, Loki and WandaVision as well as the cameras ceasing to role on big-screen production Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings). It is currently unclear how the current situation may further affect the proposed release dates of those projects in the latter half of this year and beyond. Other films moving dates – added to a list that already features No Time to Die, A Quiet Place Part 2 and F9 – are the likes of Antebellum, Run and Spiral (all from Lionsgate).

Other films in production but no longer shooting include the Ralph Fiennes / Jessica Chastain starrer The Forgiven, the David Tennant project Around the World in Eighty Days, the games-adaptation Uncharted, The Matrix 4, thriller Midnight in the Switchgrass, Geechee (starring Andrea Riseborough), Paul Schrader’s The Card Counter  Fantastic Beasts 3, King Richard, Sylvester Stallone’s superhero film Samaritan and James Cameron’s Avatar sequels.

Further to the list of television productions that shut down or halted production last week, it might well be shorter and simpler to list the ones that remain active, though they’d be harder to identify. Collecting the information from a number of industry sites it now appear the following are taking pause with no restart-date in sight…

All Rise, Batwoman  (which shut down two days after a separate, serious accident left a PA paralysed form the waist down), The Blacklist, The Brides, Britannia, Bull, Card Sharks, Charmed,Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., Chicago Med, Claws, Dynasty, Empire, FBI, FBI: Most Wanted, The Flash, God Friended Me, Grey’s Anatomy, Law & Order: SVU, Legacies, Line of Duty, The Lord of the Rings, Nancy Drew, NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: New Orleans, New Amsterdam, NeXT, The Orville, Peaky Blinders, The Resident, Riverdale, Saturday Night Live, SEAL Team, Supergirl, Supernatural, S.W.A.T., Tokyo Vice, The Witcher (including a ‘scrub’ of the set after star Kristofer Hivju – formally of Game of Thrones – tested positive.  Both Empire and Supernatural face the added problem of being in their final seasons and not being able to shoot their full SERIES-finales.  Fargo finished filming some time ago but will now move away from its 19th April debut on FX.

Event-wise, it also significant, even unprecedented in scope and scale. EVERY casino in Las Vegas has been ordered to shut down. The Rolling Stones have postponed their announced 15-venue summer ‘No Filter‘ tour. Following similar decisions in Europe, multiplex chain Cinemark announced that as of Wednesday it is shuttering all of its 345 movie-theatres in the US as are 120 Odeon cinemas in the UK. AMC have already announced they will close 630 venues in the US for at least six weeks as have other chains, Landmark and Regal. The UK’s Olivier Awards, due to be presented in a big ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall on 5th April will no longer have the event, but may announce winners another way.  The Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas will now not go ahead on 29th April. The GLAAD Media Awards will no longer happen on 16th April. The Cannes International Film Festival hasn’t announced its cancellation/postponement as yet, but most feel it is just a matter of time.

Stars such as Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson are in quarantine, recovering from positive diagnosis for the virus, Quantum of Solace‘s Olga Kurylenko said she’d contracted the virus and Idris Elba announced via a video that he too had been found to be positive for COVID-19 but insisted he was showing no symptoms (which did leave some puzzled  commentators asking why and how he’d been able to get a test. Answer: his latest production insisted).

It’s likely that with cinemas closed and the tv seasons finishing early, audiences will have to make do with repeats or, more lkely, flood to platforms such as Netflix and Hulu and other VOD enterprises.