Black Widow was among many films affected coronavirus shutdowns
Black Widow was among many films affected coronavirus shutdowns

Cinemas ordered to close across Australia

Every cinema across Australia has been ordered to shut.

On Sunday night, Prime Minister Scott Morrison instituted further social distancing rules in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

He mandated the closure of venues he described as the "principal place of socialisation", which included cinemas alongside pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes.

The escalation followed a weekend in which many Australians ignored social distancing guidelines, leading to packed beaches and pubs. NSW and Victoria also announced it would move to close all non-essential services.

Australia follows the lead of the other nations including China, Italy, France, the UK and most US cities in closing all cinemas and entertainment spaces.

Earlier last week, one national cinema chain, Palace Cinemas, pre-emptively shut their doors indefinitely. At the time, Hoyts, Events and Dendy continued to operate, albeit at a reduced capacity to adhere to government advice on maximum numbers in indoor venues.

The coronavirus has wreaked havoc on many industries worldwide, including arts and entertainment.

In the movie industry, blockbuster movies had their release dates delayed for months or indefinitely when it became apparent that cinemas would be shuttering the world over. The first film to be delayed was the new Bond instalment, No Time To Die, before it was followed by Fast & Furious 9, A Quiet Place II , Mulan, Black Widow and more.

In response, movie studios in the US started to alter its release strategy, fast-tracking the video-on-demand and streaming releases of recently released theatrical titles, which would normally violate the three-month exclusivity window promised to cinemas.

In the US, movies that have or will hit video-on-demand digital rentals include Birds of Prey, Onward, Bloodshot, The Invisible Man and Emma.

Universal will release Trolls: World Tour directly to video-on-demand next month, on the same date it was to be in cinemas. Trolls: World Tour has been postponed in Australia until September for a theatrical release.

One Paramount title, The Lovebirds, which was to release in April and was pulled from the schedule was, this weekend, bought by Netflix for release on the streaming platform.

Disney also moved the streaming release of Frozen 2 up three months on its platform, Disney+.

Last week, because Australian cinemas were still operating, the local arms of Hollywood studios were persisting with theatrical releases. Those plans are now scarpered. has requested comment from Roadshow, Disney, Sony, Paramount, Madman, Transmission, Icon Films, Universal and StudioCanal on whether the closure of cinemas locally will shift any of those theatrical releases to video-on-demand or streaming.

Palace Films confirmed its upcoming releases have all been postponed, including foreign language films My Days of Glory and Martin Eden.

Hoyts, Events and Dendy were also contacted for comment.

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Originally published as Cinemas ordered to close across Australia

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