Swine flu could poison X-Men Origins: Wolverine box office

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

A superhero could well be among the casualties of the deadly outbreak of swine influenza in Mexico City, Variety reported. 20th Century Fox's X-Men Origins: Wolverine is due to open Thursday in a city that has become the epicenter of the potential flu pandemic—but the majority of the capital's theaters are likely to be closed.

Scores of screens owned by exhibitors Cinepolis, Cinemex, Cinemas Lumiere and Cinemark have gone dark, and the remaining chains and indies are expected to follow suit. Cinepolis is also shutting theaters in the states of Mexico and San Luis Potosi.

Cinemark and Cinemas Lumiere sites are closed until further notice, while others hope to re-open later this week depending on the situation.

The theaters are responding to a request from Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, who has also asked that other public places, such as bars and restaurants, close shop in an attempt to contain the outbreak, which had claimed 150 lives by Monday. Schools and public transport have already shuttered.

This wait-and-see attitude has gripped the capital of some 20 million people, where the traffic on the normally congested streets has been cut by half, public places are no longer crowded and many of those who venture out are wearing face masks.