China's box office bounces back during Spring Festival holiday

Photo: VCG

BEIJING, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- On Sunday, Chinese Lunar New Year, a young moviegoer named Lian Cheng watched multiple films at three cinemas near his home in Shanghai.

"There are so many new movies these days. Be it families or individuals, they all can find a movie they love to watch," he said.

As of Tuesday, the fourth day of the week-long Lunar New Year holiday, China's box office revenue for the holiday exceeded 3 billion yuan (about 443 million U.S. dollars), a strong signal that the country's cultural and tourism industry will see a robust recovery this spring.

Once sluggish due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the film market is getting back on its feet following the country's downgrading of COVID-19 management.

Cinemas across the country have basically returned to regular operation, with 89.7 percent of all cinemas, or 11,494, in operation as of Monday, according to the box office tracker Dengta Data.

Cinema managers are glad to see audiences coming back. According to Guo Sisuo, head of an IMAX theater of Xiaoxiang Cineplex in Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan Province, attendances for the three movies screened at the theater on Sunday morning all surpassed 70 percent.

Guo also believed that the wide variety of genres of the seven domestic titles released for the holiday, was another positive for the booming film sector.

The list consists of the sci-fi blockbuster "The Wandering Earth II," the commercial hits "Full River Red" and "Hidden Blade," the family comedy "Five Hundred Miles," the sports drama "Ping-pong of China," and the animated fantasies "Deep Sea" and "Boonie Bears: Guardian Code."

"Compared with previous years, I think this Lunar New Year holiday has the best movie collection on offer," Guo said, adding that the genres are rich and diverse enough to appeal to movie-goers of every age group.

The average presale cinema ticket price for the holiday period is slightly lower than the same period last year, down from 56.2 yuan to 53.7 yuan; and it is the first drop in the past seven years. The lower prices draw more people to cinemas, business insiders said.

In addition, Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Fujian and other localities have rolled out preferential policies to encourage citizens to go back to cinemas.

Shanghai allocated a total of 20 million yuan in subsidies to movie-goers, enabling them to slash 20 yuan off the price of each of their tickets.

Upbeat about the film market for the holiday period, Guangzhou-based Wanlian Securities predicted in its report published last Thursday, that the national box office for the period is expected to exceed 9 billion yuan.