SEOUL, Aug. 28 (Yonhap) -- A recent spike in new coronavirus cases has dealt another heavy blow to the South Korean film industry, pushing distributors to postpone the release of titles set to hit theaters next month.
Distributor Merry Christmas said Thursday that it will put off the premier of the science-fiction adventure "Space Sweepers," which was originally scheduled to hit screens Sept. 23. The company did not elaborate on the exact date of the film's next release.
Starring Song Joong-ki and Kim Tae-ri, "Space Sweeper" is one of the most anticipated blockbusters in the fall season in South Korea. It features a group of space scavengers who hunt for debris to make money in the year 2092 in a fictional universe.
Earlier, the openings of the homegrown comedy-crime film "The Golden Holiday" and the horror-thriller animated film "Beauty Water" were also put on hold. The two titles were set to hit screens Aug. 19 and next Wednesday, respectively.
Hollywood films have been also shelved from their original opening schedules for this fall.
The Walt Disney Company Korea, the local distributing unit of the U.S. entertainment giant, said it will delay the release of the live action film "Mulan" to Sept. 17 from Sept. 10.
Starring Chinese actress Liu Yifei, "Mulan," which was first set to be released worldwide in March, has changed its opening schedules several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The release of "The New Mutants," an American superhero film based on Marvel Comics, was also pushed back to Sept. 10 from next Thursday.
The move came as South Korea has been struggling with a resurgence in the number of daily new COVID-19 patients across the country.
It has reported around 300 new virus cases every day for weeks due to sporadic cluster infections, with a nearly six-month high of 441 new infections reported Thursday.
The film industry, which has experienced a turnaround in the number of moviegoers since July after a monthslong slump, was hit hard by the looming second wave of infections.
The spy film "Tenet" was released Wednesday in South Korea, but its box-office pace has been slower than expected due to the coronavirus.
Director Christopher Nolan's latest movie attracted 137,000 moviegoers on its opening day, but the number dropped to 78,000 the next day.
The action crime film "Deliver Us From Evil" posted 340,000 admissions on Aug. 5, its first day of run, and 285,000 on Aug. 6.