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Are film theaters useless? Not in China

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China’s field workplace income on New Yr’s Day hit a brand new file as moviegoers flocked to cinemas throughout the mainland. China’s containment of COVID-19 inside its borders has allowed cinemas and different leisure venues to function nationwide.

Film ticket gross sales in China reached $92 million on Jan. 1, according to ticketing platform Maoyan. The earlier income file for New Yr’s Day in China was $55 million on Jan. 1, 2018—almost half the quantity earned this 12 months.

China reopened its financial system sooner than most different nations on the planet after efficiently clamping down on the transmission of COVID-19, making it one of many few locations on the planet the place new motion pictures can premiere in cinemas with in-person audiences and movie studios can rake in box-office income.

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Open film theaters helped China surpass the U.S. to turn out to be the most important film market on the planet final 12 months, regardless of its field workplace income dropping from $9.1 billion in 2019 to $2.8 billion in 2020, because of cinema shutdowns early within the pandemic. The whole field workplace income for the U.S. in 2020 was $2.1 billion.

Chinese language movie The Eight Hundred, which got here out in August, earned $461 million within the international field workplace, making it 2020’s highest-grossing movie, according to ticket monitoring web site Field Workplace Mojo. It’s the first Chinese language movie to achieve the No. 1 spot within the international field workplace.

Two home motion pictures launched on Dec. 31, A Little Pink Flower and Heat Hug, grabbed China’s No. 1 and No. 2 field workplace spots, respectively, for Jan. 1, adopted by a Hong Kong-Chinese language movie titled Shock Wave 2 at No. 3. Disney and Pixar’s animated movie, Soul, got here in fifth.

Simply over a 12 months in the past, cinemas in China closed because the coronavirus began to unfold. Some started to reopen in late March 2020, however ticket gross sales had been sluggish so China’s nationwide movie bureau reversed the choice days later, shutting cinemas till July 20. Most cinemas began reopening on that summer season date and have remained open since.

Within the U.S., against this, most cinemas are nonetheless shuttered and blockbuster Hollywood productions like Black Widow and Surprise Girl 1984 have postponed their 2020 releases to 2021 or premiered on streaming platforms as an alternative of in theaters to accommodate the venue closures.

China’s movie show restoration in 2020 accelerated the already rising importance of the Chinese language field workplace to Hollywood movies.

U.S.-produced Soul, for instance, premiered on streaming platform Disney+ for U.S.-based viewers, however premiered in cinemas throughout 10 nations, together with China, the place it earned $5.5 million of its $7.6 million opening weekend field workplace income.

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