Coronavirus: Pakistani cinemas may suffer financial hit

Pakistan (6th Mar, 2020): The Coronavirus outbreak may create alarming situation for cinema-goers and movie-buffs alike. 

According to reports, Pakistan’s cinemas experienced a dull year since no Pakistani film managed to cross the 300 million mark. Similarly, the new year has seen only one Pakistani film release which has consequently failed to leave its mark on audiences and critics alike.

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Additionally, the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan spreading to other countries is greatly a source of worry especially when no major films are expected to be released in either March or April. Highly anticipated James Bond installment, No Time to Die, starring Daniel Craig although seemingly the silver lining for Pakistani cinemas has also been postponed due to Coronavirus threats. It is set to be released in November of 2020 as per latest reports.

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Similarly, Disney has announced that the release of their latest live-action installment of Mulan has also been pushed back amid the outbreak threats. Although, no date has so far been announced for its rescheduled release, Disney management gave a statement that they will decided the release date(s) keeping in consideration the situation surrounding COVID-19.

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According to reports, cinemas across China have been closed until further notice since the spread of the Coronavirus in Wuhan, China. It is being reported that Hollywood is being prompted to reconsider the launch of its major movies as they garner much of their Box Office revenue from premiers across China.

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Moreover, according reports of Hollywood Reporter, the following films may be impacted if they continue with their release in May:

  • Black Widow (Marvel)
  • Fast & the Furious 9 (Universal)

Reportedly, the previous installment in the Fast & the Furious movie-chain had earned as estimated $392.8 million from China.

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Conversely, while Hollywood is considering to postpone its major releases, Pakistan has no confirmed reports of any upcoming releases apart from the screening of ISPR and MD Production collaborative project, Ehd-e-Wafa‘s last episode on the 14th of March, 2020. In terms of financial standing, our cinemas are teetering on the edge, depending solely on Eid-ul-Fitr releases including:

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  • The Legend of Maula Jutt
  • Fast & the Furious 9 (if it releases as per original schedule)

According to reports, if the number of confirmed cases in Pakistan rises till Eid-ul-Fitr, cinemas may be significantly hit because the fear of getting infected may keep away the eager movie-buffs and cinema-goers. Additionally, Hollywood Reporter estimates that cinemas have already suffered an approximate $5 billion loss since the outbreak started in Wuhan.

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Apart from greatly damaging China’s economy by shutting down cinemas, the Coronavirus is also beginning to significantly hamper South Korea, Italy, Japan and other major film markets. Experts believe that Box Office revenue may fall below significantly if the virus is not contained. In February alone, South Korean cinemas experienced an almost seventy percent fall in sales. While Italian cinemas fell almost forty-four percent in revenue.

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Thereby, it is estimated that Pakistani cinemas may be significantly hit as well due to a lack of any new releases and continued ban on Indian projects which is expected to “discourage” movie-goers.

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Stay tuned to Baaghi TV for more updates.

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