: Chinese moviegoers — starved for entertainment and craving normalcy — are set to put the country’s film industry back on top

by | Feb 3, 2023 | Stock Market

While global and domestic businesses eagerly await the return of Chinese consumer spending, one industry in particular is already doing gangbusters. China’s box-office receipts this year have hit the 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) mark — the earliest in any year that it has ever done so.

The explosion of moviegoing comes as authorities in December abolished most of the country’s harsh anti-COVID policies. The resulting wave of infections was so swift and vast that nearly all of China’s 1.4 billion citizens caught the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the two months since. With green health-code passes and other restrictions no longer required to visit cinemas, the population seems to be releasing a pent-up desire to resume normal leisure activities. “I saw three movies over the New Year holiday,” said graduate student Li Yuan from the western metropolis of Chengdu. “And there are even more I want to see.” Don’t miss: A bang or a whimper? Chinese consumers face first restriction-free Lunar New Year since start of pandemic. This year’s record-breaking ticket sales are even more striking following the poor performances of the last two years. Receipts for all of 2022 totaled only 30 million yuan, a number that could be eclipsed as early as halfway through this year. Yet sales to date in 2023 are even higher than in 2019, the last year before the pandemic crushed the industry, according to data from box-office tracker Maoyan. Moreover, domestic films are dominating so far.

Director Zhang Yimou poses with his best-director trophy for the film “Shadow” at the Golden Horse film awards in Taipei in November 2018.

sam yeh …

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