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Cannes Says It’s Too Early to Assume Coronavirus Will Cancel 2020 Festival, First Case Hits Region

The festival says "it is still premature" to make any assumptions on whether or not the outbreak will cancel the 2020 edition.

Thierry Fremaux, Pierre Lescure and Isabelle HuppertFeatures - 70th Cannes Film Festival, France - 23 May 2017(Front L-R) General Delegate of the Cannes Film Festival Thierry Fremaux, Mayor of Cannes David Lisnard, Cannes Festival President Pierre Lescure, French actress Isabelle Huppert and staff members hold a minute of silence to pay tribute to the victims of the Manchester terror attack during the 70th Anniversary of the Festival photocall at the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival, in Cannes, France, 23 May 2017. The festival runs from 17 to 28 May.

The Cannes Film Festival celebrating its 70th edition

SEBASTIEN NOGIER/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

As the coronavirus continues to spread across Europe, the Cannes Film Festival has issued a statement hoping to settle down fears over the outbreak canceling the upcoming 2020 event. This year’s Cannes Film Festival is set to begin May 12 and run through May 23. The official lineup is expected to be announced in mid-April. A spokesperson for Cannes says “it is still premature” for any assumptions on how the coronavirus will effect the 2020 Cannes Film Festival. For now, Cannes officials are monitoring the outbreak and working to ensure a safe and healthy festival.

“The Festival de Cannes is monitoring carefully the developments and the latest guidelines provided by the local, national and international authorities regarding the coronavirus, and is in direct link with the Alpes-Maritimes’ administrative office,” the Cannes spokesperson. “As of today, it is still premature to express assumptions on an event scheduled in two months and a half.”

The spokesperson adds, “In due course and depending on the occurrences, the Festival de Cannes will naturally take all the necessary measures, aiming at ensuring the protection of all attendees and preserving their health during the event in Cannes, under the responsibility of public authorities, in particular the State and the City of Cannes. For now, the Cannes film Festival staff continues to prepare the event that will take place from May 12 to May 23, 2020.”

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Cannes’ statement arrived not long after Nice mayor Christian Estrosi confirmed the first case of coronavirus in the Cannes region. A woman in Cannes has tested positive for the virus. Another upcoming event in Cannes is the annual MipCon, a trade show geared towards the television industry. This year’s MipCon is set for March 30-April 2 and is still set to run.

“We are continually monitoring developments and following the latest guidance from local, national and international authorities and the World Health Organization as it relates to travel to MipTV and clients’ on-site experience,” said MipTV organizer Reed Midem in a statement. “We are also working with the City of Cannes and the Palais des Festivals venue in Cannes to put in place measures, such as a reinforced medical team at the venue and increased standards of hygiene and cleanliness in the [Palais des Festivals].”

The coronavirus outbreak has been rattling the film industry as top global markets such as China and South Korea are closing their movie theaters in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus. Films such as “Sonic the Hedgehog” have been unable to open theatrically in China, while the Chinese premiere of the upcoming James Bond tentpole “No Time to Die” has already been cancelled. Disney could face an uphill battle with its live-action “Mulan” remake, opening next month and carrying a reported budget well over $200 million. If the epic is unable to be released in China, it could be a big financial disappointment for the studio.

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