Batman, The: Impact of Robert Pattinson’s COVID-19

Impact of Robert Pattinson’s COVID-19 on ‘The Batman’ and the Industry

The Batman Robert Pattinson
Warner Bros.

Variety Reports:

For months, the entertainment industry has focused on how to return to work amid the coronavirus pandemic. Reams of health and safety protocols have dictated proper PPE attire, testing schedules, how many people can be on a set.

By July and August, some major productions — like “The Matrix 4” and “Jurassic World: Dominion” — began to put those guidelines.  While few people have tested positive, barely any outbreaks have been reported, and no productions have had to stop completely.

Just when it started to seem like Hollywood’s pipeline could finally start flowing again, Batman got COVID-19.

The news that Robert Pattinson had tested positive just days after The Batman resumed production at Leavesden Studios in the U.K. has presented the industry with the first example of the true hazards of making a movie at this scale amid a pandemic.

When the first person on the call sheet of a movie this massive tests positive, the ripple effects are profound for the production. How what’s happening with “The Batman” will affect the wider industry, however, remains to be seen.

Other productions have required at least two negative tests, and no COVID-19 symptoms for at least 72 hours.

Anyone who came within 6 feet of Pattinson for more than 15 minutes need to be immediately isolated for 14 days, regardless of whether or not they test positive. That would likely mean any actors or stunt performers who appeared on camera with Pattinson without a mask, along with crew members tasked with supporting Pattinson through the shoot — including director Matt Reeves, if he didn’t remain socially distant with Pattinson.

If any of those people also test positive, further quarantining of individuals within their respective orbits is necessary as well.

The news comes at a critical moment for an industry that needs to convince its top-tier talent that returning to work will not put their health in jeopardy.

On “Jurassic World: Dominion,” which is also shooting in the U.K., Universal bought out a luxury hotel to house the stars, director and production staff when they’re not working. Everyone at the hotel, including hotel employees, are tested for 3 times a week.

It’s unclear whether “The Batman” has followed similarly rigorous procedures.

But Pattinson’s positive test underscores why insurers have refused to write any new policies that would cover costs due to COVID-19, or any other communicable disease. No insurer wants to be on the hook for millions in production overruns if they can possibly avoid it.

That continues to pose a serious obstacle to a full restart of production — both for major studios and independents. If indie producers did not have insurance in place by March, they will find it impossible to get completion bond.

The Motion Picture Association has urged Congress to provide federal backstop for COVID insurance. But with Congress unable to even pass an unemployment extension, an insurance bailout for Hollywood (and other industries) is not likely any time soon.

The next film set to shoot at Leavesdon after “The Batman” is DC Films’ “The Flash,” which isn’t scheduled to start until next spring, so this delay also won’t likely disrupt Warner production.

It remains unclear how or where Pattinson could have contracted COVID-19, and that uncertainty could also feed into greater sense of denial.

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