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Hollywood movie studios suspend release of box office data after coronavirus slump

With the economic slump deepening as a result of the coronavirus, the movie studios including the Walt Disney and Universal Pictures in a statement released on Thursday announced the suspension of the release of box office data as the movie theatres around the world have been shut down as a measure to prevent the virus outbreak.

The decision is followed by the worst weekend, in terms of revenue, over the past two decades at the North American box office recorded last week.

“Given the current large number of theater shutdowns around the globe, Disney will suspend global weekend reporting for the time being. Wishing you and your families the best during these testing times and please be safe,” Disney said in a statement.

Followed by its competitor, the Universal Pictures also took the same route as it has also halted its circulation to the media of box office data.

Movie studios typically release box office receipts from movie theaters around the world that measure the popularity of their films with the public.

However, in the past few days movie theater chains in the United States, Canada and Britain have shut down due to bans on large gatherings. Italy, France, South Korea and other countries have imposed more stringent lockdowns in a bid to restrict the spread of the disease.

Movie theaters in China, Hollywood’s biggest overseas market, have been shuttered for weeks because of the virus.

Hollywood’s two other main movie studios – Sony Pictures and Warner Bros – did not immediately respond to queries on Thursday on whether they also planned to stop releasing box office data.

Ticket sales in North America last weekend slumped to the lowest levels in more than 20 years, generating roughly $55 million between Friday and Sunday