Chinese Movie Theaters Ordered to Close Again Due to Coronavirus

movie theater

Updated March 27, 2020: Chinese officials have ordered movie theaters across the country to close again following a brief opening earlier this week, according to Variety. The decision to re-open came from municipal authorities in Shanghai, however national authorities have ordered them to remain closed.

Chinese theaters, like many movie theaters in North America and across the world, closed due to social distancing guidelines aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus. Variety reports that a newly diagnosed case of coronavirus in China may have led to the re-closings, which do not come with any information about when theaters may be expected to re-open.

Variety reports that the 507 re-opened theaters were not receiving many visitors, with a nationwide box office take in the low thousands across all movies and theaters for the entire week.

Original story, March 23, 2020: 507 Chinese movie theaters have reopened following an easing of new Coronavirus cases in the country. Chinese state media CGTN reports (via Variety) that 507 theaters in five different provinces have reopened.

Citing data from Chinese ticketing firm Maoyan, CGTN lists theater openings in Xinjiang, Shangdong, Sichuan, Fujian, and Guangdong, provinces spread across the country. However, the Chinese box office took in only approximately $2000 USD, with the theaters in Fujian and Guangdong selling no tickets at all. 

Most films available currently are re-runs of popular recent Chinese and American films, with several new Chinese releases planned in the coming weeks as European Space Agency satellites have detected increased industrial activity in China, indicating an increase in those returning to work following weeks of dealing with the ongoing global Coronoavirus outbreak, which originated in Wuhan, China.

Meanwhile, Australia is prepping its own Coronavirus response with Prime Minister Scott Morrison announcing the closing of all Australian movie theaters as part of what Morrison calls "phase one" of a social distancing strategy to avoid spreading the contagion (via TheWrap).

Australia has also shuttered casinos, places of worship, pubs, indoor sports arenas, and nightclubs, while restaurants will only be able to provide take-out service. Australian shopping centers and schools remain open for the time being.

“If Australia is going to get through the challenge of this pandemic over the coming months, we have to live differently. We’ve been making that point very clear over the last week. But it’s also clear that some people haven’t got it,” stated Brendan Murphy, Australia's Chief Medical Officer. “The PM has said people have not been getting the messages and we have had to take, we’ve recommended unanimously that these fairly dramatic and drastic recommendations be put in place because we have to stop those situations where viruses pass readily.”

Australia is the latest country to close its movie theaters in the wake of Coronavirus, with many including the United States having already taken this measure.

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