Paramount’s local offices in China has made official today what has long been suspected in the wake of the spread of the coronavirus in the country: The Sonic movie will not debut this Friday as planned.
Movie theaters are still closed in the country as officials try to contain the spread of the virus. New outbreaks have been reported this week in South Korea and Italy.
According to Deadline.com, Paramount China released this statement, which explains that a new release date for the film has not yet been determined:
Due to the current coronavirus situation, the China release date of the film Sonic the Hedgehog will be postponed, and we will re-announce the new release date at a later time.
Sonic will only be slowing down his pace temporarily, and we look forward to bringing him zooming onto the big screen in China once it is appropriate to do so.
As the whole country and world unite together to fight the outbreak of coronavirus, we would like to express our gratitude and respect to all the medical staff, the rescue personnel, and people in service who provide us with much-needed assistance and support during this time.
While an important market for any movie, Sonic crossing the $200 million mark in global ticket sales yesterday means it’s not essential to the film’s success, despite the delay of what’s sure to be tens of millions of dollars in additional revenue that could have helped Sonic rival the total worldwide sales of Detective Pikachu. That film made over $70 million in the country.
China, however, is an important component of the global economy–not just with its budding entertainment industry–and fears about the virus slowing economic growth and productivity is what contributed to global markets falling between 1.5 and 4 percent today.