Hollywood is taking coronavirus concerns pretty seriously. Granted, there’s the obvious downside to cancelling / postponing fan conventions, film festivals, movie premieres, and other high-profile events, but they pale in comparison to the upside, which is avoiding furthering the spread of the disease to crowds of hundreds or thousands gathered in attendance. It’s important to mention that the upside to the companies cancelling or delaying these events also has a financial component to it; better to take a temporary loss with the hopes of a longterm gain without the public relations nightmare that would come with seeming to ignore and help perpetuate an epidemic. Shareholders tend not to be too fond of that.
Here’s a look at every media-related event that has been cancelled or postponed due to coronavirus concerns so far:
As of 3/15:
As of 3/14:
As of 3/13:
As of 3/12 (and it’s a big one):
The 2020 JUNO Awards have been cancelled. pic.twitter.com/eVvT3KUT8D
— The JUNO Awards (@TheJUNOAwards) March 12, 2020
As of 3/11:
The E3 team is devastated to share this news. This decision was not reached lightly, but it is the right one for the health and safety of all involved. Read our statement here: https://t.co/1uOWxTerN9 pic.twitter.com/gD2IxNACLX
— E3 (@E3) March 11, 2020
As of 3/10:
As of 3/9:
As of 3/6:
- The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo may go on as planned … just with no spectators in the stands. The New York Times reports that the event organizers, who spoke with experts from the World Health Organization, are considering a number of worst-case scenarios, including “holding fan-free competitions, with only sports officials and broadcasters as spectators.” What’s more likely to occur is a “screening process for participants, athletes, fans and others, and to create a risk profile of countries and regions.” The call was more of an advisory one; stay tuned to see what the Olympics committee actually decides to do.
- Elsewhere, the financially tally of COVID-19, at least as it relates to media companies, is starting to shape up. MGM is looking to take a $30 to $50 million hit from delaying No Time to Die, while SXSW 2020 is in the process of mulling over a $350+ decision to cancel. As Variety reports, Miami’s cancellation/postponement of the UMF makes an interesting case for Austin, TX and SXSW; the event promoters/organizers are likely waiting for city leaders to make the official decision. Politicians and company execs don’t want to be responsible for a disease outbreak, but they also don’t want to lose out on hundreds of millions of dollars of local income. Factor in the risks of lawsuits due to cancellations, potential loss of insurance (or recoup of some expenses with insurance), and things get pretty murky pretty quickly. Variety has much more on the details, but with SXSW scheduled to start on Friday March 13th, expect a decision sooner than later.
- Emerald City Comic-Con 2020 has been postponed until Summer
- TwitchCon Amsterdam is cancelled
- And SXSW 2020 is officially cancelled
As of 3/5:
- Netflix and Apple are the latest big-name content creators to pull out of SXSW 2020. Screenings for original feature Uncorked and four documentaries–A Secret Love, L.A. Originals, Mucho Mucho Amor, Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics–have been cancelled by Netflix; also cancelled was the March 15th panel for Kenya Barris and Rashida Jones‘ upcoming series #blackexcellence. For its part, Apple has cancelled their AppleTV+ Originals screenings and premieres, like Spike Jonze’s documentary film Beastie Boys Story; a discussion their docu-series Little America with co-creators Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon; directors / exec producers Loren Bouchard and Josh Gad‘s animated musical series Central Park; Home, a docu-series that goes inside innovative homes around the world; and a screening of Boys State, a political coming-of-age documentary Apple acquired with A24 at the Sundance Film Festival.
- WarnerMedia has also pulled out of SXSW. They’ll scap panels for TBS’s Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, HBO’s Watchmen (with Damon Lindelof, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross also out), and HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show with creator Robin Thede. Premieres of TNT’s Snowpiercer series and HBO’s LGBTQ comedy We’re Here have also been shelved, along with an HBO Max session and “Inside Innovation at WarnerMedia” panel.
Government restrictions in France have led to the cancellation of the Tomorrowland EDM Festival, set to run March 14th to March 21st
- France’s health minister extended the ban on large gatherings (5,000+) until May 31st; not March, May. That’s likely going to cramp Cannes’ style. The 2020 gathering and film market is currently scheduled to take place from May 12th through May 23rd, with upwards of 12,000+ attendees expected. The festival seems to be operating under the assumption that, since no more than 5,000 people gather in one place at the same time, that Cannes will go as planned. Stay tuned.
- Miami has postponed its Ultra Music Festival until March 2021.
As of 3/4: