The economic toll of the coronavirus could cost the film industry billions.
The planned April premiere in China for Daniel Craig’s final stint as James Bond in “No Time to Die” has been cancelled and a publicity tour postponed as the country grapples with the coronavirus. That comes as China has shuttered nearly all of its 70,000 theaters in the wake of the virus’ spread, already costing the movie business well over $1 billion.
Citing a studio insider, London’s Sunday Times reported that even if cinemas reopen in time for the film’s premiere, Craig, co-writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and Naomie Harris (Moneypenny) would be among those unable to get doctors’ clearance to travel to China.
Coronavirus has infected more than 69,000 people globally, mostly in mainland China. It has killed 1,669, including four outside mainland china, according to CNN.
The economic toll is already being felt by Hollywood. China has the world’s second-largest box office; a strong showing there is crucial for the success of films in the franchise era.
The most recent 007 film, “Spectre” had the strongest Chinese showing of all 24 movies in the series when it grossed $83.51 million in 2015. “Spectre” grossed $880.67 million worldwide. “Avengers: Endgame,” the highest-grossing film ever at $2.8 billion, grossed $614.32 million in China, or one fifth of the total.
The current toll on the Chinese box office was well illustrated during last month’s Lunar New Year holiday weekend, where grosses totaled just $2 million, down from $507 million for the same time period the year before, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“No Time to Die” is the 25th film in the franchise, and will be the last one to star Daniel Craig in the role of 007. The franchise has yet to find a successor to Craig, who has been leading the series since 2006’s “Casino Royale,” also going on to appear in “Spectre,” “Skfyall,” and “Quantum of Solace.”
The film is directed by “Beasts of No Nation” filmmaker Cary Joji Fukunaga, who co-wrote the script with Scott Z. Burns and Waller-Bridge.
Craig, Harris, Jeffrey Wright, Ben Whishaw, Ralph Fiennes, Rory Kinnear, and Lea Seydoux all reprise their previous Bond roles, alongside newcomers Rami Malek, Ana De Armas, Lashana Lynch, David Dencik, Billy Magnussen, and Dali Benssalah.