Peter Rabbit 2 has followed the lead of Bond movie No Time To Die and shifted its release by several months due to coronavirus fears.
The CGI family movie was due to be released next week in Australia on March 19, but has now been rescheduled for a September 10 local release.
The follow-up to the 2018 commercially successful Peter Rabbit, the sequel is based on the stories of Beatrix Potter and features the voices of James Corden, Margot Robbie and Elizabeth Debicki, and live action performances from Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson and David Oyelowo.
The movie, like its predecessor, was filmed in Sydney.
Peter Rabbit 2’s extended delay comes as the entertainment industry globally is hit by the coronavirus.
Last week, MGM and Universal delayed the new Bond film No Time To Die from its April date until November, fearing the movie would forego hundreds of millions of dollars in box office receipts as cinemas close and people avoid gatherings with large crowds.
Like No Time To Die, Peter Rabbit 2 was expected to have a wide international audience, which would have been particularly bruising for its financial success. The first movie took in $US351 million.
Previously, analysts told The Hollywood Reporter the film industry should expect to be hit to the tune of $US5 billion because of coronavirus.
In China, the country’s 70,000 cinemas have been closed since January. Year-on-year, box receipts in China are down almost $US2 billion for the months of January and February. China is the world’s second biggest cinema market and took in $US9 billion in 2019.
Around the world, there’s been a significant downturn in film-goers with cinemas shuttering in Italy and sessions dramatically reduced in hot spots including South Korea and Japan.
However, big studio blockbusters Mulan and Fast & Furious 9 are still scheduled to be released later this month and in early May respectively.
SXSW, a film, music and tech festival in Austin, Texas, was cancelled this month as was Tasmania’s Dark Mofo festival, while the Coachella music festival has now been delayed until October. An international TV buying convention, MipTV, was also cancelled this month.
The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is currently scheduled to go ahead starting March 25.