China Box Office Nears $500K On First Day Of Cinema Reopenings; Beijing Lowers Emergency Response Level

As Chinese cinemas began the reopening process today, box office crossed $472K by 8PM local. Maoyan’s real-time ticketing platform reports that play is led by new entry A First Farewell at around $184K. Following it is the re-issue of Christmas title Sheep Without A Shepherd at about $80K and Disney/Pixar’s Coco in 3rd with just over $42K.

China’s movie theaters have been shuttered since January as the country took drastic closure measures amid the coronavirus outbreak. The estimated box office loss for the world’s second biggest market is expected to be around $4B in 2020. Authorities last week gave the go-ahead for cinemas to reopen beginning today in low-risk areas outside of Beijing and its immediate environs.

However, Beijing today downgraded its emergency response level and said the city could gradually begin reopening. Xinhua reported cinemas are expected to reopen after risk appraisal. No date has been set.

Currently on offer elsewhere is a set of re-releases that were identified last week, with new Hollywood pictures entering the frame on Friday.

China wasted no time in dating movies for this week, including a series of Hollywood titles that were sidelined due to the COVID closures. Dolittle and Bloodshot go on July 24, followed by 1917 on July 31 with more to be confirmed.

At the same time, local reports say that almost all tickets for the Shanghai International Film Festival (July 25-Aug 2) were sold out within the first few hours of Monday. There will be over 320 titles screened, in a combination of cinemas (with 30% capacity rates), outdoor venues and online platforms.

Some of the other COVID-19 safety rulings released last week for the Middle Kingdom include no concessions being sold, temperature scans of all visitors, mandatory masks throughout the entire show with audience members at a one-meter distance — and no cinemas can book any movies with runtimes over two hours, among other precautions.

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