From Saturday, a first batch of 205 cinemas will re-open for business in Shanghai. This follows last weekend’s opening of 500+ theaters in other China provinces, though Shanghai becomes the first tier one city to turn the lights back on as the coronavirus reportedly abates in the Middle Kingdom.
The Shanghai municipal government made the announcement on Thursday and said that strict measures will be in place to prevent the spread of the disease. Those will include movie goers presenting their health QR codes, having their temperatures taken and wearing masks during screenings. Seating will be spaced out and disinfection will take place between showings.
There are about 20 films in the first swath of releases, all older titles including The Wandering Earth, Wolf Warrior 2 and Oscar winner Green Book. Ip Man 4 has also reportedly been given an extension to April 25. As we previously reported, the Hollywood studios have been approached about releasing catalogue titles into the Middle Kingdom as it gets back on its feet. We understand that it is up to the authorities, but that at least four Avengers movies could be rebooting beginning this weekend (though they were not mentioned in the Shanghai reports) while new releases of Warner Bros’ Interstellar, Inception and Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone are on deck, though specific release dates have yet to be set.
Tickets in Shanghai will be offered at an RMB 10 ($1.41) discount via Tao Piao Piao from March 28-April 26, according to local reports. A total 600K subsidized tickets will be availablee during the period. And, China Film Group will waive part of it commission on certain titles. Also, per Shine, the Shanghai Film Group has set up an RMB 1B ($141M) fund to help cinemas, notably in the Yangtze River Delta area.
There are over 380 cinemas in Shanghai, and the plan is for the rest to come back on line “in an orderly manner when conditions are ripe,” said a statement.
When the first smattering of theaters opened last weekend, it didn’t create a rush to get to the movies as people remained wary of gathering in crowds and cited a preference to wait for new releases.