Chinese cinemas reopen after months-long closure
BEIJING, July 20 (Xinhua) -- Tickets sold like hotcakes and audiences burst into cheers as cinemas in most parts of the Chinese mainland reopened on Monday, ending months-long closures amid the COVID-19 epidemic.
The China Film Administration, in a circular last week, allowed cinemas in low-risk areas to resume operation with effective epidemic prevention measures in place.
"A First Farewell," an award-winning movie revolving around two children in Xinjiang, was among the few new movies that hit the screen on Monday, while many others were re-screened box office hits, including Chinese sci-fi blockbuster "The Wandering Earth" and 2017 animation "Coco."
In Shanghai, audiences in a cinema cheered when the dragon-shaped screening license appeared on the screen, which marks the start of a movie in the Chinese mainland.
The eastern Chinese city also saw over 100,000 tickets sold in 10 minutes on Monday morning for movies to be screened during the Shanghai International Film Festival, which will kick off on Saturday.
In Beijing, which lowered its COVID-19 emergency response from level II to III on Monday, cinemas were still in preparation for reopening. Cinemas in some southern Chinese cities also said the preparation had not finished after the rainy season, as the prolonged closure left their seats moldy.
A guideline issued by the Chinese Film Circulation and Projection Association asked cinemas to limit their attendance per show to 30 percent capacity and sell non-adjacent tickets in every other row.
Moviegoers must make real-name reservations, wear masks and those who do not know each other should keep a distance of at least one meter, the guideline read.
China is the world's second-largest movie market, but the film industry has been dealt a hefty blow by the COVID-19 epidemic after cinemas nationwide were closed from late January to slow down the virus spread. Enditem