The swine flu pandemic that his rocked Mexico and caused grave concern in the United States and abroad has forced 20th Century Fox to delay the release of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” in that country.
According to Reuters, a News Corp spokesman, speaking on behalf of its Fox division, said the release in Mexico would be delayed by a couple of weeks. The studio will reevaluate as soon as they have a better idea when theaters will reopen.
Because of the outbreak, Mexico’s top theater chains have been forced to shut down dozens of cinemas throughout Mexico City, the epicenter of the outbreak, after the government began to limit large public gatherings that could lead to new cases of the disease. As of Monday, 149 people were dead and thousand were infected in Mexico alone.
Outside of Mexico, “Wolverine” will still open virtually day and date across the world this upcoming weekend. In the United States alone, it’s expected to gross between $80-90 million in it’s first three days. However, as concern over the powerful new flu strain grows in major domestic cities such as New York and Los Angeles, the movie industry is keeping a watchful eye as to whether fears of the illness will keep some ticket buyers away from the multiplex.
Next weekend, “Star Trek” is scheduled to open in the United States, Mexico and 49 other markets. Paramount Pictures has not announced whether they also intended to delay the release of their first summer blockbuster in America’s southwestern neighbor because of the pandemic, but at this point, it’s almost a certainty.
Look for updates and analysis on this story as it develops on HitFix.