China has reopened more than 500 cinema screens after drop in coronavirus cases

·2-min read
Pretty young lady using a smartphone while waiting to get into the cinema for a movie.
(Credit: Getty)

Chinese authorities have begun to re-open cinemas across the country, after cases of coronavirus have seen a significant reduction.

China was the first country to go into a full lockdown in late January, after the virus was first discovered in the city of Wuhan, with its cinemas having been shuttered ever since.

Earlier this month, it was estimated that the Chinese box office had lost over £1.5 billion in revenue following cinema closures.

But according to reports, Friday last week saw screens re-opening, with 507 theatres in Xinjiang, Shangdong, Sichuan, Fujian and Guangdong.

Latest coronavirus news, updates and advice

Live: Follow all the latest updates from the UK and around the world

Fact-checker: The number of COVID-19 cases in your local area

Explained: Symptoms, latest advice and how it compares to the flu

It was a tentative step, representing just 5% of the cinemas in China, and the movies on offer were largely re-runs of recent Chinese movie releases.

However, uptake was minimal – Variety reports that nationwide box office revenue amounted to just $2000, with the cinemas in Fujian and Guangdong, coastal regions on the border of Hong Kong, not selling any tickets at all.

Mulan (Credit: Disney)
Mulan (Credit: Disney)

Many movies coming from the west to the Chinese market had their releases and their premieres axed, including new Bond movie No Time To Die, Sonic The Hedgehog and Oscar-winner 1917.

The hotly anticipated live-action remake of Mulan from Disney, based on Chinese folklore and set for a March 27 release, was postponed earlier this month.

Read more: Tom Hanks is ‘feeling better’ in latest virus update

Yesterday, the Chinese National Health Commission reported 39 new confirmed cases, all of which it said were imported and not local cases.

It's now been five days since a new case has been reported in Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus, with the two-month lockdown beginning to loosen, with some of those deemed to now be virus-free allowed to return to work.