The coronavirus outbreak—now named COVID-19—has filled the new year with despair. Just entering the third month of 2020, the virus had 93,090 confirmed cases with over 3,000 deaths. But alongside the virus, there is something else that travels just as fast: fear. COVID-19 has affected many more lives than the numbers show, and the entertainment industry has taken a big hit.
Many companies are delaying or cancelling movie productions and releases, as well as concerts and other attractions. These effects don’t only mean loss for the company, but also for every individual in the industry who helps to make these works of art come to life for a living.
Much like the virus, the effects on the entertainment industry started in China but are now spreading worldwide. The Lunar New Year is a big holiday for China and many countries in Asia, typically seeing increases in revenue for entertainment. However, due to fears and efforts to contain COVID-19, China closed movie theatres all over the country—an industry which usually sees a revenue of over $1 billion in ticket sales for the new year. Film releases like No Time to Die, the new James Bond movie, and Mulan have delayed their initial release dates in China. Attractions that usually draw crowds of customers, such as Shanghai’s Disneyland which also earns around $1 billion annually, were temporarily shut down.
As the outbreak spreads, other entertainment companies worldwide are starting to feel the effects. Italy saw many temporary closures, especially in the northern cities, for major museums like Museo Correr. Filming for the seventh Mission Impossible movie was put on hold as they had plans to shoot in Venice for three weeks. The Louvre in Paris, France was also temporarily closed until recently for Paris Fashion Week.
In South Korea, which has the second highest infection rate in the world, events like Seoul Fashion Week and Busan Theatre Festival, are cancelled or postponed, and official guided tours for their popular Gyeongbokgung Palace are suspended. Japan closed many popular spots like its Universal Studios, The Tokyo Skytree, and many museums, along with event cancellations, such as their famous cherry blossom festivals. Disney attractions face much loss not only in Shanghai, but with the temporary closures of Japan’s Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea, as well as Hong Kong Disneyland. While some of these closures are only temporary, the loss in revenue is costly for all involved.
While tourist attractions and movie industries shut down amid fears, the music industry isn’t safe either. American rock band, Green Day, postponed their “Hella Mega Tour” concerts in Asia that were supposed to take place in March. With a rise of COVID-19 cases in Korea, much of the K-pop industry is on pause. K-pop group BTS’ concerts scheduled in April were cancelled as they planned to perform multiple times in Seoul. Other groups, like GOT7, WINNER, and (G)I-DLE, also had to cancel scheduled tour dates.
With over 90,000 cases of the coronavirus worldwide, these are only some places and events that were affected globally. Many more industry events, film and art festivals, museums, and conventions remain closed or cancelled even now. Even if COVID-19 eventually passes, fear will still linger, deepening the economic wound and possibly leaving a lasting scar on all the different entertainment industries.