For all you diehard movie fans, you may have already heard the exciting news: Chinese cinemas, which have been shuttered for more than 100 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are set to reopen.
Recently, the State Council issued a guideline, which allows indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas and theaters to resume operation under strict COVID-19 prevention protocols, including booking tickets in advance and limiting audience numbers.
On Thursday, the Ministry of Finance and the China Film Administration jointly announced it would exempt the National Film Industry Development Special Fund levy of Hubei province from Jan 1 to Dec 31, and from Jan 1 to Aug 31 for other provinces and municipalities.
For this moment, I saw a glimmer of hope for the recovery of China's beleaguered film industry. Withdrawals of scheduled film debuts dominated headlines. All of the blockbusters that had targeted the lucrative box-office seasons ranging from the Spring Festival to the Lantern Festival and Valentine's Day were pulled from theaters and postponed. The presale box-office frontrunners for Spring Festival included Detective Chinatown 3, The Rescue and Leap.
The films that were once set for the Lantern Festival holiday include the Japanese animated feature Children of the Sea and Agent Beckkom: Kings Bear, the sequel of the titular animated franchise.
While the Valentine's Day box office was set to be dominated by the likes of Little Women, this year's Oscar winner for best costume design, and Jojo Rabbit, which won the Academy Award for Best Writing Adapted Screenplay. Unfortunately, cinemagoers were denied the opportunity due to their withdrawal from release amid the COVID-19 outbreak.