Disney’s new release Mulan could suffer losses of roughly $85m in international ticket sales if its release is delayed over coronavirus fears, as China’s box office gets hit hard.
The shutting of cinemas in Wuhan, where millions of people have been in lockdown in an attempt to contain the virus, forced the delay or cancellation of several Chinese movie premieres, as well as US-made films.
American films whose theatrical plans for China have been indefinitely postponed include Oscar nominees JoJo Rabbit, Little Women and 1917.
However, it is Disney’s live-action remake of Mulan, which has a scheduled release of March 27 in the US, with a similar date expected in China, that could be hurt the most.
If Mulan’s release in China is delayed over coronavirus fears, J.P. Morgan analysts said in a research note that roughly $85m in international ticket sales could be on hold.
In 2019, China brought in roughly $9bn in movie ticket sales, or about 21 per cent of the global box office’s $42.5bn total. According to CBS News, industry analysts are using box office results from Disney’s The Lion King, released in China a week before it hit theatres stateside last July, to forecast the epidemic’s potential effect on the new Mulan.
The Chinese box office made up 11 per cent of The Lion King’s international ticket sales and seven per cent of global ticket sales, J.P. Morgan analysts said. China was expected to contribute an even larger share of an estimated $700m in international receipts and $1bn in global receipts, given that Mulan is based on Chinese folklore and set in north China.
J.P. Morgan said in its note: “We expect China to have an even higher contribution due to the nature of the film.”