With the coronavirus epidemic sweeping the globe, the movie industry is proving to be one of the virus’s first and hardest-hit economic victims. Cinemas with their close-seated groups of strangers captivated by the flickering magic of what Russian writer Maxim Gorky famously called “the kingdom of shadows” are an easy and prime target for possible infection.

According to a report published on Monday in The Hollywood Reporter, the global box office has already seen huge losses in turnover as a result of fears of infection and decisions by many international governments to close cinemas as a precautionary measure.

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