LONDON (Reuters) – The disruption caused by the spread of the coronavirus has reached the British entertainment industry, with events axed and concerns raised over the timing of the new Bond film.
Walt Disney has canceled some events planned to promote the European launch of its channel Disney+, a competitor to Netflix and Amazon Prime which will show “The Mandalorian”, the latest in the “Star Wars” movie and TV franchise.
Celebrities and executives were due to take to the red carpet in London on Thursday to promote the streaming channel, which becomes available to subscribers in Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain on March 24.
The London Book Fair, a trade show for publishers that attracts 25,000 attendees from over 100 countries and was due to take place on 10-12 March, has also been called off, organizers Reed Exhibitions said on Wednesday.
Both Disney and Reed cited concerns about international travel due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Fans also raised concerns about the timing of the release of the new James Bond film “No Time to Die”, one of the biggest entertainment events of 2020.
Daniel Craig’s last outing as the famous spy is due for release on 3 April, but two James Bond fan sites have written to the studios behind the film to ask for its release to be delayed over worries that cinemas could be closed then.
The founders of MI6 Confidential and The James Bond Dossier posted an open letter which also said the world premiere for No Time to Die, planned for March 31 in London with 5,000 attendees, could be problematic.
“Delay the release of ‘No Time To Die’ until the summer when experts expect the epidemics to have peaked and to be under control,” the letter added.
EON Productions, the producers of the movie, were not immediately available to comment on the letter. The film companies involved, MGM and Universal, were also not available.
There have been 51 cases of coronavirus so far in Britain, which warned on Tuesday that more than a fifth of employees could be off work at the peak of the outbreak.
(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Pravin Char)