CinemaCon has been cancelled in a day of rapid developments in the US related to coronavirus after president Trump imposed a 30-day travel ban from Europe to the US that excludes the UK.
The show had been scheduled to run from March 30-April 2 in Las Vegas and it is understood the event is covered by insurance. National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) head John Fithian and show emcee Mitch Neuhauser issued a statement on Wednesday evening (11).
“It is with great regret we are announcing the cancellation of CinemaCon 2020,” the statement read. “Each spring, motion picture exhibitors, distributors and industry partners from around the world meet in Las Vegas to share information and celebrate the moviegoing experience.
“This year, due to the travel ban from the European Union, the unique travel difficulties in many other areas of the world and other challenges presented by the Coronavirus pandemic, a significant portion of the worldwide motion picture community is not able to attend CinemaCon. While local outbreaks vary widely in severity, the global circumstances make it impossible for us to mount the show that our attendees have come to expect.
“After consultation with our attendees, trade show exhibitors, sponsors, and studio presenters, NATO has decided therefore to cancel CinemaCon 2020. We look forward to continuing the 10-year tradition of presenting the largest movie theater convention in the world and joining our attendees in future celebrations of the moviegoing experience.”
The cancellation comes as exhibitor stocks have dropped in recent weeks due to concerns over public gatherings and April releases of James Bond thriller No Time To Die and family film Peter Rabbit 2 have been postponed until later in the year.
That said, North American box office has until now been fairly robust compared to international, with notable hits for The Invisible Man and Sonic The Hedgehog.
In a fast-moving day of coronavirus-related news, the World Health Organization said the outbreak had reached the status of pandemic, and the National Basketball Association in the US said it was suspending the season after a player from the Utah Jazz was said to have tested positive. Meanwhile Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson posted on Instagram from Australia they had tested positive for the virus.
Trump’s temporary travel ban goes into effect at midnight on Friday and covers trade and cargo. It does not apply to American permanent residents or immediate family members of US citizens, and affects people who have in the last two weeks spent time in the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
The new restrictions have left some scratching their heads as it is believed travel bans do little to stop the spread of a disease once it has taken hold in a country. At time of writing there were believed to be 938 confirmed cases and 29 deaths in the US according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while the Center for Systems Science and Engineering put the number of cases at 1,311 and 30 deaths. Critics have called for testing.
Returning to Hanks, the actor revealed his news from Australia where he has been preparing to shoot Baz Luhrmann’s untitled Elvis Presley film. (He was set to portray manager Colonel Tom Parker.) The star said that after feeling under the weather, he and Wilson went to a doctor and tested positive for coronavirus.
Warner Bros issued a statement that said, “We have been made aware that a company member from our Elvis feature film, which is currently in pre-production in The Gold Coast, Australia, has tested positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus). We are working closely with the appropriate Australian health agencies to identify and contact anyone who may have come in direct contact with the individual.
”The health and safety of our company members is always our top priority, and we are taking precautions to protect everyone who works on our productions around the world. The individual who tested positive for COVID-19 is currently receiving treatment.”