The delays and suspensions of film and TV projects in Australia due to the coronavirus is expected to cause more than $2bn in damages and affect over 30,000 workers, according to Screen Producers Australia.
Their latest survey on the effect of coronavirus shows that the number of affected productions has now skyrocketed to 119, including local favourites like Neighbours, Wentworth, Five Bedrooms, Harrow, The Voice Australia, The Real Housewives of Melbourne and Little J & Big Cuz.
The reported budgetary figure on the line has now risen to almost half a billion dollars (comprised of $232m in actuals and $239m in estimates). Recent responses to the survey also captured an additional $20m in lost export revenue, bringing the total reported loss to just shy of $100m.
This figure rises dramatically when factoring in the losses from major Hollywood blockbusters that were filming in Australia when the virus struck. These include Marvel Studio’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Baz Luhrmann’s Untitled Elvis Presley Project.
Add to that the flow on effects of business failures caused by the pandemic in production, distribution and exhibition, SPA maintains that damage to the sector will likely be greater than $2bn, affecting over 30,000 working employees, freelancers and contractors.
The good news is that there are still some productions being made, such as children’s animations, light entertainment, documentaries and, most interestingly, potentially dramas in the weeks ahead. There are also many hours of content already produced and awaiting release on broadcasters and distributor’s shelves.