China’s Long-Suffering Film Industry Eyes Big Holiday Box Office

While urban cinemas may see booming business, those in small cities are likely to get less traffic, as fewer people are returning to their rural hometowns for the Lunar New Year because of ongoing coronavirus control measures.

China’s film industry faced a devastating blow last year when all releases scheduled for the Lunar New Year holiday were postponed and theaters closed their doors to cope with the coronavirus outbreak. But business is gradually bouncing back, and forecasts for what could draw in the most box office bucks appear optimistic this year, even with some ongoing restrictions.

More than half a dozen movies from various genres are being released during the weeklong holiday that starts Thursday, with millions of moviegoers expected to crowd theaters in the coming days. As of Tuesday, movie ticket presales for the Spring Festival holiday had eclipsed 600 million yuan ($93 million), reportedly exceeding advanced bookings in 2019, before the pandemic, according to ticketing platform Maoyan.

One of the major holiday releases this year is the comedy flick “Detective Chinatown 3,” which has topped advanced ticket sales and already raked in more than 400 million yuan. Originally scheduled for release during last year’s holiday, the movie will now premiere Friday.

Other movies being released during the holiday include the dramedy “Hi, Mom,” the action-packed dark comedy “Endgame,” fantasies “A Writer’s Odyssey” and “The Yin-Yang Master: Dream of Eternity,” as well as animated features such as “New Gods: Nezha Reborn” and “Boonie Bears: The Wild Life.”

Qian Zhijun, a marketing manager for a movie theater in Shanghai’s downtown Xuhui District, told Sixth Tone that business would certainly be “much better” than last year, or even 2019, as domestic productions are getting more recognition from audiences. He said advanced bookings for many of the upcoming films indicate that business will bounce back.

“We are optimistic about the overall box office for this year’s Spring Festival season,” he said. “In the past, many people would return home for the holidays or go travel, so there would be a lot of reduced traffic. As many cannot make travel plans this year, movie viewing may be a good outlet for leisure and entertainment.” Continue to read the full article here


– This article originally appeared on Sixth Tone.