Coronavirus may cost global box office billions

The coronavirus has forced a shutdown of that country's 70,000 movie screens.

The Chinese market is a major contributor to the overall global box office take.

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The coronavirus has forced a shutdown of that country's 70,000 movie screens.

Worldwide grosses hit an all-time high of $42.5 billion last year, with the Chinese market turning in $9.2 billion, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

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Estimates are that global box office revenue could fall by $1 billion to $2 billion.

The outbreak coincides with the start of the Lunar New Year as going to movies has become a major pastime in China.

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The Hollywood Reporter says Chinese film executives are dealing with the possibility that total box office through February could be next to nothing.

With the severity of the coronavirus, medical officials began warning the population to avoid congregating in crowded places.

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China's leading studios are indefinitely postponing releases.