Coronavirus outbreak: China’s lunar new year box office weekend scrapped amid city lockdowns

Roisin O'Connor

The biggest film weekend in China has been affected by the coronavirus outbreak that is currently wreaking havoc in the country.

The lunar new year holiday (25 January this year) is typically regarded as the high season for film distribution in China, as people spend the week-long holiday visiting cinemas among other leisure activities.

However, The Guardian reports that the coronavirus outbreak has caused a number of film companies to cancel their releases, as central China’s Wuhan city and its neighbouring Huanggang go into lockdown.

Among the films to experience delays are Detective Chinatown 3 – the latest sequel in a popular comedy franchise – and Leap, a film about China’s national female volleyball team.

The cancellations mean that international releases for the films will also be delayed, as China’s regulations stipulate that movies produced in the country must have domestic releases first.

Fourteen people have been tested in the UK for suspected coronavirus, which has infected hundreds of people in Wuhan, China, and spread to other countries including the US.

Five people have been confirmed negative while nine are still awaiting results, Public Health England said, without giving any details on where the patients are being treated.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said it is “too early” to declare a global health emergency over the outbreak, which has killed 18 people in China.

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