The filming of Paramount Pictures' "Mission: Impossible 7," scheduled to take place in Venice, Italy, was halted after parts of the country went into lockdown to stem a spike in coronavirus cases.
The movie, starring Tom Cruise, was supposed to shoot in Venice for three weeks starting Feb. 20, but production has been suspended out of an abundance of caution, according to Paramount, a division of ViacomCBS Inc. Stopping filming is a drastic and expensive choice for studios, which sometimes spend years preparing for the labor-intensive task.
The company also pushed back the release date of its "Sonic the Hedgehog" film in China indefinitely over fears of the virus, which is rapidly spreading around the globe. Theaters across Asia are facing millions of dollars in losses as moviegoers stay away due to quarantines or worries about contracting the disease.
The "Mission: Impossible" franchise is one of the most reliable moneymakers for Paramount, which has struggled to find hits in recent years.
"During this hiatus we want to be mindful of the concerns of the crew and are allowing them to return home until production starts," Paramount said in an emailed statement. "We will continue to monitor this situation, and work alongside health and government officials as it evolves."
No actors or crew members linked to the "Mission: Impossible 7" film were infected or are suspected of having the virus, the company said.
Italy is now grappling with the largest coronavirus outbreak in Europe. On Monday, the country reported more than 200 cases and six deaths from the respiratory disease. Milan, the country's financial hub, and the productive regions of Lombardy and Veneto are in virtual lockdown. The government has imposed sweeping measures limiting travel to and from affected areas.
"Mission: Impossible 7" was also expected to shoot in Rome in March.