As the effects of the coronavirus ramped up over the last week around the world, with a rise in deaths, Hollywood has reacted by essentially shutting down. Multiple projects that were in active production have temporarily shut down to protect themselves and stop the spread of the virus, following the lead of major films such as No Time To Die, Mulan and F9.
Among those projects are Matt Reeves‘ The Batman, which has reportedly shut down for two weeks after filming in the UK. Jurassic World: Dominion has also suspended filming, as has BJ Novak‘s secret Blumhouse thriller Vengeance and Dwayne Johnson‘s Netflix feature, Red Notice.
On the TV side, Disney+ shows Loki and WandaVision have also suspended production, as has season 4 of Netflix’s Stranger Things, while Apple and FX have suspended filming on all shows.
There are projects that continue to film though. The Matrix 4 remains in production, currently working on a Berlin sound stage which has taken every safety pre-caution against the virus. Warner Bros.’ King Richard – about tennis legends Serena and Venus Williams‘ father – was briefly delayed due to Los Angeles weather, but is expected to begin production soon.
This news comes as theatres have been ordered to close in New York and Los Angeles. Other major cities are expected to follow suit, while the ones that don’t will still likely limit capacity to initiate social distancing.
What this means, from a film standpoint, is that every major release expected to arrive in the forthcoming months is likely to be delayed. Disney, at this point, still hasn’t delayed Marvel’s Black Widow, but that now seems like an inevitability. And blockbusters initially supposed to arrive deeper into the summer – Wonder Woman 1984, Tenet, Eternals – are in danger too.
In the grand scheme of things, delaying a few films isn’t a particularly big deal. When the peak of the virus has subsided, there will be plenty of time for these films to get released. In the short term though, audiences may be limited to whatever’s on their streaming platforms.