Going into 2020, movie aficionados have been well assured that the year was going to be filled with blockbusters. From epic live-action remakes of animated classics to the latest adventures in the major comic-book superhero cinematic universes, there was something of every genre to look forward to. All of that was wiped away when the COVID-19 pandemic spurred the world to lock down and quarantine for up to now, the middle of 2020. Thankfully some restrictions have been gradually relaxing over time, including the operation of movie-houses. And among the first countries to reactivate their cinemas world-wide, is the world’s biggest national audience box office-wise.
As The Hollywood Reporter would tell us, Monday the 20th of July was the day the cinemas of the People’s Republic of China were once again inviting audiences in. This is significant seeing as it had been six months since the nation that was Ground Zero for the COVID-19 pandemic had been one of the first to close up business as the infection spread. Chinese regulators have agreed to let individual movie-houses and big cinema chains with branches in low-risk areas open for screening anew. Operators can heave a sigh of relief as they can start recouping their revenue losses.
On their first day back in the grind, the PRC box office overall would fall just short of half a million dollars – more close to $475,000 – in ticket sales. The major factors for this are the limited number of cinemas actually opened (major chain Wanda Film only reactivated 43 of its 600+ total), the seating limitations and regulations for health and safety reasons, and of course the fact that there are few movies available to premiere at the time. China had only one new release, “Wolf Warrior 2,” with the rest being reruns of past films both local and foreign, like Disney-Pixar’s 2017 hit “Coco.”
Thankfully that drought of new motion picture content will not last long as Hollywood movies have premiere dates for China later this week. Selections include “1917” from Amblin (released 2019 elsewhere and only arriving on Chinese screens soon), as well as early-2020 blockbuster “Sonic the Hedgehog” from Paramount and Sega. A true fresh premiere however is Sony Pictures’ “Bloodshot” starring Vin Diesel, based on the cyborg super-soldier hero character from Valiant Comics. Chinese cinemas are mandated to allow seating of only 30% max capacity in the theater, and cutting the total number of runs in a day by only half.
Image courtesy of CNN Philippines