No Time To Die! James Bond publicity tour of China starring Daniel Craig is scrapped over coronavirus fears
- No Time to Die was to have a star-studded premiere in Beijing in April
- But publicity tour has been cancelled as China’s death toll soared to over 1,600
- Some 70,000 cinemas are shut with over 50million residents on lock-down
- China represents a colossal £6billion share of the global film industry
The latest James Bond movie’s publicity tour of China has been scrapped over fears of the deadly coronavirus.
No Time to Die was to have a star-studded premiere in Beijing in April featuring Daniel Craig, who is making his final appearance as 007.
But as the death toll soared to over 1,600 on Sunday, The Times reported the lucrative publicity events planned for the spring had been called off.
Around 70,000 cinemas across China have been closed while more than 50 million people remain on lock down to contain the contagion.
No Time to Die was to have a star-studded premiere in Beijing in April featuring Daniel Craig, who is making his final appearance as 007
It is a huge blow to Universal Pictures, with China representing a massive market, contributing more than £6billion to the film industry last year. Spectre, which also starred Craig, took in more than £60million in 2015.
The latest Bond movie is expected to haul in its biggest box office sales ever, although it remains to be seen what impact the coronavirus will have.
Daniel Craig suited and booted as 007 in No Time to Die
Cinemas are set to be closed until at least April, but even if they re-opened in time, a studio insider said their doctors would not allow for the publicity tour to go ahead.
Hollywood is now looking forward to March 27 and the release of Mulan, Disney’s £200million remake of its blockbuster animation of a Chinese legend. Disney have said they are ‘committed’ to the release date in North America and Europe.
The coronavirus, thought to have emerged at a wildlife market in the central Chinese province of Hubei, has presented the ruling Communist Party with the huge challenge of stamping it out while at the same time minimising damage to the world’s second-largest economy.
China’s latest figures showed 68,500 cases of the illness and 1,665 deaths, most of them in Hubei.
The National Health Commission reported on Sunday 2,009 new cases, down from 2,641 the previous day, and 142 new deaths, just one lower than the 143 on the previous day. All but four of the new deaths were in Hubei.
Workers wearing protective suits prepare to leave after disinfecting a residential area in Beijing, China on Saturday
The province and its capital, Wuhan, have been virtually sealed off and locked down since January 23, with schools, offices and factories shut and most travel suspended.
The virus is believed to have an incubation period of 14 days which would appear to indicate it has been spreading since the lockdown was imposed.
Outside mainland China, there have been about 500 cases in some two dozen countries and territories, with four deaths – in Japan, Chinese-ruled Hong Kong, the Philippines and France.
The biggest cluster outside China has been on the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined off Japan’s Yokohama, with 70 more cases reported on Sunday, taking the total to 355 of the roughly 3,700 passengers and crew on board.