Filming was due to have started on Monday in Venice, where the final two days of the lagoon city's annual Carnival festival was canceled on Sunday. New coronavirus cases climbed above 220 on Monday as Italy shut down much of its wealthy north to curb the spread of the virus.
"Out of an abundance of caution for the safety and well-being of our cast and crew, and efforts of the local Venetian government to halt public gatherings in response to the threat of coronavirus, we are altering the production plan for our three-week shoot in Venice, the scheduled first leg of an extensive production for Mission: Impossible 7," Paramount Pictures, a unit of ViacomCBS, said in a statement.Cruise is currently holed up, quarantined at the luxurious Hotel Gritti Palace. No staff or crew have reportedly been infected. British cast and crew are scheduled to return to the UK, where they will be tested upon arrival. His representative stated that Cruise had not even arrived in the country before production was halted.
The studio said it was allowing the rest of the film crew to return home during the delay and that it would "continue to monitor this situation" in Italy.
The studio did not say when it now expects production to start.
The 7th installment of the lucrative action movie franchise is expected to be released in July 2021, with an eighth set for 2022. Cruise will reprise his role as secret agent Ethan Hunt in both movies, with Christopher McQuarrie returning as director.The Mission: Impossible movies are one of the biggest franchises in Hollywood, with 2018's Mission: Impossible-Fallout taking in more than $791 million at the worldwide box office.The announcement comes after the number of cases in Italy of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, rose on Monday to over 150 with five dead, prompting the government to close off the worst hit areas in the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto. Italy is the most afflicted country in Europe.