Netflix, Apple, Lionsgate withdraw from SXSW Festival over coronavirus scare

Los Angeles, Mar 6 (PTI) Netflix, Apple and Lionsgate are the latest Hollywood studios that have pulled out of South By Southwest (SXSW) festival in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The three companies follow Amazon Studios that had announced its withdrawal from Austin-based festival earlier this week.

Netflix had planned to screen five films, which included the movie 'Uncorked' as well as documentaries 'A Secret Love', 'L.A. Originals', 'Mucho Mucho Amor' and 'Have a Good Trip: Adventures in Psychedelics'. But the plans have now been junked.

Apple's lineup included premieres of originals like Spike Jonze’s documentary 'Beastie Boys Story'; 'Central Park', the new animated series from Bob’s Burgers‘ Loren Bouchard and 'Home', a new docuseries. The tech giants has also withdrawn from the festival.

According to Variety, Lionsgate-owned Starz Network has decided to cancel its screening of crime drama series 'Hightown' and its featured session for 'Power'.

However, Lionsgate itself has not cancelled the screenings of its movies -- 'The Quarry' and 'Arkansas' -- but the films' talent will not be visiting the festival.

The novel coronavirus or COVID-19, which originated in China, has spread to over 60 countries, including the US, where it has claimed the lives of 12 people.

Earlier, Amazon, which was set to present two world episodic premieres of Greg Daniels' sci-fi show 'Upload' and Matt Reeves and Nathaniel Halpern’s 'Tales From the Loop', had pulled out of the festival.

The two events were to be followed by Q&A sessions with the press.

Before Amazon, Facebook and Twitter had decided to withdraw from the annual music, technology and entertainment festival in Austin, which runs from March 13 to March 22.

The festival is one of the large-scale events that is held every year. In 2019, the the festival drew more than 417,000 attendees, from a total of 106 countries.

The SXSW organisers, however, have ruled out that the festival will be cancelled.

'Regarding the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak: SXSW is working closely on a daily basis with local, state, and federal agencies to plan for a safe event.

'As a result of this dialogue and the recommendations of Austin Public Health, we are proceeding with the 2020 event with the health and safety of our attendees, staff, and volunteers as our top priority,' they said. PTI RB SHD SHD