Cinemas are suffering catastrophically low attendances. The past weekend saw the US and Canadian domestic box offices total barely $55 million (€49.2m).
An article in The Hollywood Reporter says that takings are down in North America by some 45 per cent, but the overall global box office impact this year could be a massive $20 billion.
Trade magazine Variety described the box office revenues as “cratering”, and it is not likely to get any better.
City authorities have now ordered that cinemas and live theatres in New York and Los Angeles close with effect from 9am on March 17th. It is the first time ever that such an order has been given, other than for weather-related events.
Theatres outside of the major cities are already limiting the number of tickets sold in order to avoid crowding. Meanwhile, in the UK, all cinemas are shutting this week.