Showbiz takes a hit from coronavirus

By Long Nguyen   February 5, 2020 | 05:28 am PT
Movie releases and music shows have been put off as coronavirus fears keep people away from possible crowded places.

At the premiere of "Bi Mat Cua Gio" (Secret of The Wind) in Hanoi last weekend, producer Ngo Thi Bich Hanh said the movie’s February 7 release has been delayed further, but the new release schedule has not been decided and would be announced later depending on the situation. The original release date was January 31.

Director Nguyen Phan Quang Binh and several actors in the movie endorsed the postponement. "Bi Mat Cua Gio" is the first Vietnamese movie to be affected by the epidemic.

Another movie facing a delay is action-comedy "Sac Dep Doi Tra" (Drama Queen). "The film is scheduled to be released on February 14, but the producers are considering the situation," the film’s media representative told reporters. "If the epidemic worsens, there will be a change in its release date."

The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is keeping away people from cinemas, with numbers decreasing during the Lunar New Year (Tet) holidays. A spokesperson for the Galaxy cinema chain said there was a 20 percent decrease in the profits for cinemas across the country during the Lunar New Year holidays.

A staff member uses glass cleaner to clean a movie poster at a cinema in ancient town Hue. Photo by Facebook/BHD.

A staff member cleans a movie poster at a cinema in ancient town Hue. Photo by Facebook/BHD.

Mega GS cinema in Ho Chi Minh City reported a more than 50 percent decrease in the number of moviegoers.

"Normally we sell up to 5,000 tickets per day on special occasions, but since the epidemic started, it is 2,000 maximum," its owner Bich Lien told local media.

Vietnamese movies "Gai Gia Lam Chieu 3" (The Last Egg 3) and "Doi Mat Am Duong" (The Eyes) also witnessed a decreasing number of viewers. During Tet, drama flick "Gai Gia Lam Chieu 3" earned up to VND17 billion ($730,485) per day, though recently only scoring VND5-6 billion ($214,834-257,800).

Hollywood film "Dolittle" also earned less, from VND 10 billion ($429,668) per day during Tet to around VND1 billion ($42,967) per day now. Other films have experienced a dramatic reduction in ticket sales at less than 80 per day nationwide.

A spokesperson for the CGV cinema chain also confirmed decreasing numbers during the New Year holidays. The company requires all employees to check their temperature and clean their hands before starting to work.

Moviegoers with fever or cough will be quarantined and taken to the nearest medical center.

Canceled shows

Singer Dan Truong decided to cancel nine concerts between February 2 and 16 in several places across Vietnam and in Taiwan due to "corona", he wrote on his Facebook page.

"For the sake of your health, let's be careful. I hope there will be a vaccine for coronavirus so we can get back to our normal lives soon," he said.

Bich Phuong's concert on February 22 has been possibly delayed. The singer announced the postponement of ticket sale on January 31 and told her fans to stay away from crowds and use masks to safeguard themselves.

Two theaters in Ho Chi Minh City have been closed since last Sunday due to the virus outbreak though usually the first month of the lunar year is their most lucrative period. Actress Hong Van, their owner, said she is worried for her audiences.

Vietnam has confirmed 10 cases nCoV infection as of Wednesday morning. Globally, the death toll from the epidemic has reached 492, with 490 dying in mainland China, one in the Philippines and one in Hong Kong.

The government declared coronavirus an epidemic on last Saturday.

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