While the rest of the world continues to deal with the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus), at least there is some good news coming from the country where the virus originated, China. Weeks after the local cinemas in China shut down (on January 23), it appears that a small fraction of them have already reopened.
According to Variety, approximately 500 theaters in China have reopened just two months after they were forced to close their doors. While this only represents a small fraction of the 70,000 screens that are in the country, it does show that not only are theaters beginning to reopen but business is starting to pick up in the country where thousands have passed away due to COVID-19.
Unfortunately, the news of the cinemas reopening doesn’t necessarily mean that people were flooding back to watch films. Even with no new COVID-19 cases over the last week or so, the Chinese people are still cautious about going back to the movies. The report claims that on the first day, Friday, of being reopened, the cinemas only brought in an estimated $2,000. And in two of the five provinces where theaters have reopened, Fujian and Guangdong, not a single ticket was sold. The report claims that the bestselling ticket was for the film “Sheep Without A Shepherd.”
As we reported last week, the tentative plan for theaters reopening in China is expected to really begin in April, where many more cinemas will start to open their doors. And due to the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in theaters earning no money for the past two months, the China Film Group has set up a catalog of several older films that will be available to screen at these cinemas, where the businesses will be able to keep 100% of the money earned, allowing them to recoup some of that lost revenue a bit faster.
Obviously, we are still a ways off until it’s business as usual in China, not to mention the rest of the world. However, in a world where we see headlines that are less-than-awesome, with death tolls rising, it’s nice to have a bit of good news every once in a while.