In a move that China previously made weeks ago, it appears that the Italian government has officially ordered all cinemas in the country to be closed until at least April 3 due to the outbreak and deaths associated with coronavirus. But according to new stats from Deadline, it doesn’t appear that the closure is going to affect a lot of people, as this weekend saw a major downturn in attendance before the shuttering.
Italy is ranked as the 10th biggest box office territory around the world, earning almost $710 million in 2019. But over the last three days, before the government-forced closure, the film industry only earned $504,000, dropping -79% from the prior week, with the film “Hidden Away” winning the weekend. This is clearly in response to the coronavirus outbreak that has killed 366 people in Italy, infecting more than 7,300 in the country. The government has already imposed quarantine rules that has affected more than 16 million Italians over this time, as well.
So, as the numbers of infected continue to rise and the death toll spikes further, the Italian government has seen fit to officially close all the cinemas in the country, leaving the entire box office in a holding pattern until April, at the earliest. Obviously, if this continues to be an issue over the next few weeks, as it has been in China, we can expect the government to extend the closures further into the future.
Obviously, this is another huge development in how the film industry has been hindered by coronavirus. We’ve already seen China’s film industry become decimated over the last few months, but Europe seems to be the next in line to see the outbreak lead to even more closures. And with Cannes coming May 12, eyes are now on the French government and its reaction to the outbreak to see if the prestigious film festival will be affected.