As several film release dates are moving down the calendar, the impact of coronavirus concerns are now beginning to float over to the television industry.
Disney+'s Marvel series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which stars Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Adepero Oduye and Carl Lumbly, was shooting in Prague when production was halted. The film primarily shoots in Atlanta and was cast and crew were only supposed to be in Prague for about a week. They've now been called back to Atlanta. The Czech Republic has reported 40 confirmed cases of the disease and schools are shutting down.
Stateside, a crew member of the upcoming Fox series, neXt, has tested positive for coronavirus. The sci-fi crime drama, slated to be a midseason replacement on the network, features Aaron Moten as a series regular. The crew member recently flew to the Chicago set from Hollywood.
“We have been notified by the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) that a crew member on neXt, which concluded production in Chicago last week, has tested positive for COVID-19 and is receiving treatment,” a Disney Television Studios said in a statement. “We are working closely with the CDPH to identify and contact all individuals who came in direct contact with the crew member, and are taking precautions to protect all who work on our productions.”
SAG-AFTRA said, “Fox/Disney notified cast and crew today that a production member for the show neXt, which wrapped production at Cinespace in Chicago last week, has tested positive for the Coronavirus COVID-19). That person came into contact with other cast and crew at Cinespace and possibly elsewhere. We are working with the production company regarding this matter to determine the timeline and scope of potential exposure to members and others. We are monitoring the situation closely and will update our statement periodically as warranted.”
Will fewer people go to movie theaters now? The jury is still out. Two major tentpoles are coming soon, both from Disney. Mulan is set for release on March 27 and Marvel's Black Widow on May 1. Time will tell if the disease is still rampant and if it will continue to have domino effects across the industry.
“We have worked this with so many different scenarios and variables — it’s anybody’s guess,” says Jeff Goldstein, president of domestic distribution at Warner Bros told Variety. “I was in a movie theater yesterday, and it didn’t seem to me that attendance was depressed at all. I also went to a restaurant, and it was packed. But if the news gets worse, that could change on a dime.”
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