Wuhan virus outbreak: Singapore cinema chains postpone screenings of 4 Chinese films

A notice on Cathay Cineplexes' website. (Screencap)

SINGAPORE — The screenings of at least four Chinese films here have been delayed indefinitely due to the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus.

The Vanguard, Detective Chinatown 3, The Rescue, and Jiang Zi Ya: Legend of Deification were scheduled to play over the Chinese New Year weekend in Singapore at cinema chains Cathay Cineplexes, Golden Village, Eng Wah, and Shaw Theatres.

Notices alerting patrons of the delay of the films’ global release were posted on the chains’ websites and social media on Thursday (23 January), following the announcement that Wuhan, where the coronavirus originated, and two other Chinese cities have been placed under lockdown in a bid by the local authorities to curb the outbreak. All three cities are located in the Hubei province.

The coronavirus has claimed 17 lives and infected over 630 people in China so far. At least 12 cases have been confirmed beyond mainland China, including the US, Thailand, Macau, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan.

(Eng Wah website screencap)
A notice on Shaw Theatres' website. (Screencap)

Responding to queries from Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore, a Cathay Cineplexes spokesperson said that the Chinese studios behind the films have “collectively” decided not to release them until further notice due to the ongoing outbreak in China.

“Cathay Cineplexes will respect the studios’ wishes to delay the screening of (the four films)”, the spokesperson said, adding that it will be revising their programming with other movies in light of the delay.

When asked about the revised screening schedule, the spokesperson added that there is no indication for now and Cathay will update the public in due course.

Customers who purchased their tickets for the affected films at any of the cinema chains will be refunded. Online bookings via Cathay Cinema, Shaw Theatres, and Golden Village will be auto-refunded.

According to a Variety report, the screenings of at least seven major films opening this weekend in China have been cancelled in response to the outbreak.

The same report said that the decision to cancel these releases was made by the industry players behind the films and not by a government body.