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Paramount Pictures halts production of 'Mission: Impossible VII' in Italy due to coronavirus outbreak

Key Points
  • Paramount Pictures has halted production on its anticipated action film "Mission: Impossible VII" starring Tom Cruise in Venice, Italy, as a coronavirus outbreak continues to spread across the northern part of the country. 
  • As of Monday morning, more than 220 people had been infected in Italy with a majority of cases in the country's northern region.
  • "Mission: Impossible VII" is set to make its theater debut on July 23, 2021.
An image from EPIX's "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation"
Source: EPIX

Paramount Pictures has halted production on its anticipated action film "Mission: Impossible VII" starring Tom Cruise in Venice, Italy, as a coronavirus outbreak continues to spread across the country.

"Out of an abundance of caution for the safety and well-being of our cast and crew, and efforts of the local Venetian government to halt public gatherings in response to the threat of coronavirus, we are altering the production plan for our three week shoot in Venice, the scheduled first leg of an extensive production for Mission: Impossible 7," Paramount said in a statement Monday.

"During this hiatus we want to be mindful of the concerns of the crew and are allowing them to return home until production starts," the company added. "We will continue to monitor this situation, and work alongside health and government officials as it evolves."

The Wrap was the first to report the news. 

As of Monday morning, more than 220 people had been infected in Italy with a majority of cases in the country's northern region of Lombardy and neighboring Veneto, where local authorities have shut down schools and gatherings in an effort to prevent the virus' spread.

There are more than 79,000 confirmed cases and at least 2,621 deaths across the globa from the virus as of Monday.

The movie, which is the seventh film in the franchise, was meant to shoot in Venice for three weeks, according to The Wrap.

It is unclear if this delay will impact the release date for "Mission: Impossible VII," which is currently set for July 23, 2021, or its budget. The previous film in the franchise "Mission: Impossible — Fallout" cost around $180 million to make, not including its marketing spend.

The "Mission Impossible" flick isn't the only movie production to be halted due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak. In China all productions were told to cease shooting in the region, including the Donnie Yen-helmed "Polar Rescue" and at least 10 television shows.

While some productions have since continued, since actors cannot wear masks during takes, shooting teams have been advised to remain small, limiting their crews to under 20 people when possible, according to a report from Variety.

Additionally, Beijing's film bureau has said it will provide financial support to production companies and cinemas that have been hit hard by recent theater closures and production stoppages. It's unclear how or when that financial support will be doled out.

Currently, cinemas across the country are shuttered and it's uncertain when they will be reopened. That could be bad news for American companies that are set to release massive blockbusters in the region in the coming months. Disney's "Mulan" has long been expected to perform tremendously well in China, but if theater closures continue that box office haul could take a hit.

Disney has not said the movie's March release in China has been altered, but analysts are already bracing for the announcement. The biggest worry is that the film will be pirated over the internet, putting a dent in potential ticket sales. Still, once bans begin to lift and fears of the virus spreading wane, there is an expectation that people in China will once again flock to cinemas.

Update: This story has been updated with Paramount Pictures statement.

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