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Coronavirus concerns have doused the world premiere of Hulu’s Little Fires Everywhere.
The streamer on Wednesday announced that it was halting the event, scheduled for Thursday night in Los Angeles, with expected guests to have included stars and producers Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington. It was also planned for a week in which other studios have forged ahead with major premieres, including Monday’s debut of Mulan by Disney and Tuesday night’s Bloodshot premiere from Sony. Though no official comment came from a Hulu spokesperson, an email sent to attendees suggested that the company had been fielding concern from prospective guests.
“As you are all aware, the current state of affairs has altered the daily lives of many people, including our cast and crew. After hearing from many of you, and out of an abundance of caution, we are canceling tomorrow’s Little Fires Everywhere premiere screening and celebration. We are extremely proud of this series and can’t wait to share it with you when it debuts on Hulu on March 18,” read the email. The series is an adaptation of Celeste Ng’s best-selling novel of the same name.
The statement was sent early on Wednesday evening, around the same time Tom Hanks revealed that he and wife Rita Wilson had tested positive for COVID-19 and moments before NBA officials announced that the entire season was being suspended after a player for the Utah Jazz tested positive. The Little Fires premiere is just the latest in a long list of events that have either been postponed or canceled amid the coronavirus outbreak, which was officially labeled a pandemic Wednesday by the World Health Organization. SXSW, Coachella, DragCon, E3, NAB Show, GLAAD Media Awards – New York, PaleyFest, Facebook F8, a Quibi launch event, a Disney+ launch event and dozens of others are al off for now. The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills also made “the difficult but important decision” to cancel or postpone all productions, presentations, public gatherings and educational programs through March 31.
“It’s like a domino effect,” one high ranking talent publicist told The Hollywood Reporter. “Financially, it’s terrible for so many people.”
Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, held a press conference Wednesday during which she revealed that L.A. County had reported its first casualty of the virus. But Ferrer said that, at this point, city officials were not ready to enforce a ban or limit on public events, something that has been done in other cities like San Francisco and Seattle. “We will get to a point, unfortunately here in L.A. County, where we will be asking for events to close, but we are not there yet,” she said, adding that until then, they are advising “everyone be cautious and take as many actions as they can to protect themselves. This is a risk-benefit analysis.”
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