The situation puts movie studios in “uncharted waters,” said Jeff Goldstein, president of domestic distribution at AT&T Inc’s Warner Bros. studio.
Warner Bros. has not delayed any film openings, Goldstein said, “but we have an open mind. We will have to look at everything and see how it unfolds.”
The National Association of Theatre Owners said moviegoing remained healthy in most areas and cinemas will remain open “in line with local conditions.”
This past weekend, ticket sales in the United States and Canada, the world’s biggest box office market, rose 1.2 percent from a week earlier to $US100.7 million ($153 million), according to measurement firm Comscore.
“Right now, I haven’t seen any discernible impact at the (US and Canadian) box office,” said Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian.
Mulan, a $US200 million live-action remake of Disney’s animated classic, has been expected to rank as one of the company’s biggest hits of the year.
The movie was tailored to appeal especially to the Chinese market. The story centres around a Chinese heroine, features an all-Asian cast, and was filmed partly in China. The central character is played by Yifei Liu, a film and TV actress well known in China.
It is unclear when Chinese cinemas will re-open. The movie is set to debut in the United States on March 27.
“My heart goes out to everybody in China and around the world that is affected,” Mulan director Niki Caro said on the red carpet on Monday. “When we do have the opportunity to bring this movie back home to China, it’s going to be the most wonderful celebration.”
Mulan was made for “a global audience,” producer Chris Bender said at the premiere. “We want everybody to see it.”
Dergarabedian said Mulan will be an important test of moviegoing amid the coronavirus outbreak. “This is a situation that is changing day by day,” he said.
In the meantime, studios are moving ahead. On Monday, Disney released a new trailer for Black Widow starring Scarlett Johansson as the popular Avengers character. The trailer said the movie’s release date remained May 1.