Movie theaters in China have been instructed by the country’s national film board to close hours after at least 200 theaters attempted to reopen in Shanghai, according to Xinhua Daily News via posts on China’s social media outlet Weibo.
The country’s National Film Bureau via a report in the Jiangsu Provincial Film Bureau informed exhibitors and business was suspended immediately. No specific time was given as to when theaters might be able to reopen again.
Over the weekend, over 500 theaters in the country’s mainland reopened with little success at the box office, even as exhibitors intended to encourage attendance by screening films like the all-time biggest earner at the box office “Wolf Warrior 2” or “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”
The spread of the coronavirus had also slowed in China after it was initially considered the epicenter of the COVID-19 disease. Last week it was reported that new cases had reached zero in the Wuhan region.
What’s more, the Chinese ticketing service Mayoan had reported 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.
Overall however, the box office has been down nearly $2 billion since the beginning of March, according to Comscore figures via Business Insider after the country’s 70,000 movie theaters across the country were forced to close due to the virus.