A volatile market rallied Wednesday but not so the exhibition sector which was swimming in red after Deadline reported that the next James Bond film, No Time To Die, was pushed from an April release to November.
Studios MGM, Eon and Universal said they moved the U.K. and international release date of April 2 and the U.S. Easter weekend global day-and-date of April 10 to November 25, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, “after careful consideration and thorough evaluation of the global theatrical marketplace.”
With the Dow up near 800 points, or 3.4%, exhibitors were off their lows for the day but still heading in the wrong direction. In mid-afternoon trade, Cinemark was down 0.53%; AMC Entertainment was down 3.5%; and in-theater advertising agency National Cinemedia had surrendered 1.25%.
China shuttered its 70,000 theaters in late January as the coronavirus exploded in the city of Wuhan and greater Hubei Province. It’s since spread to 83 countries resulting in additional closures of theaters from South Korea to Italy. AMC CEO Adam Aron noted on the company’s earnings call last week that it had closed 22 of its 47 theaters in Italy, most in or around Milan where preponderance of infections have been logged.
At this point, the shift in timing doesn’t necessarily indicate fear of the virus itself as much as shifts in people’s habits as an abundance of caution may cause them to avoid public gathering places – an issue that is driving a spate of cancellations and postponements of key events across media, entertainment and just about every other sector.