Over 500 movie theaters in China have reopened as of Saturday as new cases of the coronavirus in mainland China have crawled to nearly zero.
The numbers come from a report released by the Chinese ticketing service Mayoan (via the financial website Caixin) that says that as of March 21, 507 theaters in the country have resumed work, up 21 from the day prior, and had a return-to-work rate of 4.47%. The country also saw an increase at the box office of 125%, according to Mayoan.
Movie theaters have started by re-releasing older films in the country, including some of the highest performing movies ever at the Chinese box office. Among them are the 2017 action film “Wolf Warrior 2,” the 2019 sci-fi “The Wandering Earth” and the 2015 drama “Wolf Totem.” China is also releasing Nadine Labecki’s Oscar-nominated Lebanese drama “Capernaum,” the Best Picture winner “Green Book” and even “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”
Theaters in China have been closed since January as part of nationwide efforts to contain the coronavirus, and it’s contributed to the delay of the release of American films such as “Sonic the Hedgehog” overseas, but also the worldwide releases of films like Disney’s “Mulan” and others.
Caixin reports that a recent survey of the general public in China conducted by Mayoan found that 70% of respondents listed going to the movie theater as their first choice for entertainment options when the coronavirus spread ends, while another 30% said they would visit as soon as theaters reopened.
While on Monday there were nearly 40 new cases of the virus and nine deaths, all in the Wuhan region, all of those cases were deemed to have come in from overseas, there were no new local cases of COVID-19 in Wuhan, where the virus initially started spreading.