Spreading coronavirus affects BTS shows, halts Mission: Impossible shoot
Movie premieres, award shows, conferences and fairs also cancelled by organizers
The entertainment world is hitting pause on and changing plans for a variety of events — from upcoming film shoots for the next Mission: Impossible to promotional appearances by K-pop superstars BTS — as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread globally.
On Monday, Paramount Pictures halted production on the seventh Mission: Impossible film, which had been scheduled to shoot for three weeks in Venice.
More than 200 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Italy, the largest number outside Asia. While most of those cases are in the neighbouring Lombardy region, authorities said three people in Venice have tested positive for the virus.
Paramount cited the Venetian government's halting of public gatherings, and said it was cancelling the shoot "out of an abundance of caution for the safety and well-being of our cast and crew."
Meanwhile, in South Korea, boy band BTS changed a host of upcoming appearances tied to the release of its new album Map of the Soul: 7, which came out Friday.
The seven-member group held a livestreamed news conference on Monday in place of an open-to-the-public gathering. Earlier plans for a large media event in Seoul to promote the album were ditched due to the outbreak.
"We have decided to have decided to fully cooperate with the government's policy to refrain from holding events with a massive number of participants in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus," BigHit entertainment, the band's management, said in a statement.
[공지] 방탄소년단 'MAP OF THE SOUL : 7’ 발매 글로벌 기자간담회 관련 변경사항 안내 (+ENG) <a href="https://t.co/GH2Li0mce2">pic.twitter.com/GH2Li0mce2</a>—@BigHitEnt
"Health is always on our minds these days, and our messages of facing your inner self and loving yourself are ultimately only possible when you're healthy. Especially since it is very risky outside these days," BTS singer Jimin said during the streamed press conference.
The band is also scheduled to make several TV appearances in Seoul this week to promote the new release. Now, these appearances will conducted without a studio audience.
The annual Korean Music Awards ceremony is among the large-scale events that have been cancelled or postponed due to the outbreak. Instead, the winners will be announced online later this week.
Though the global cases of coronavirus has now topped 80,000, World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday he is not yet ready to categorize the increased number of COVID-19 cases as a pandemic.
"Does this virus have pandemic potential? Absolutely it has. Are we there yet? From our assessment, not yet," he said during a media briefing.
Cinemas shuttered in China
The impact has perhaps been the greatest for the entertainment industry in China, which has reported more than 77,000 cases of COVID-19 and around 2,700 deaths.
Cancellations in the past few weeks have encompassed concerts, musical tours, spectaculars like the Cirque du Soleil, conferences, major events such as Art Basel Hong Kong and a host of high-profile movie premieres.
Cinemas in China have been shuttered due to the outbreak, closing down the world's second largest box-office market. At stake is potentially hundreds of millions in movie ticket sales in China and elsewhere.
Last week, the James Bond film No Time to Die cancelled its planned Beijing premiere and promotional tour. The film is to open in Britain on April 2 and in North America on April 10.
On Monday, Paramount postponed the Chinese release of Sonic the Hedgehog, which had been set for Friday.
Another high-profile film is on the horizon: the Walt Disney Co.'s anticipated live-action Mulan remake is slated to open worldwide, with a particular focus on China. It's due to open there on March 27.
With files from CBC News and Reuters