China Fund: Business collapses as coronavirus bites

Cinema box office in mainland China collapsed at its lowest level this weekend as the film industry was hit once again by the impact of anti-coronary restrictions. Nationally, theaters grossed just $ 12.6 million.

Virus infections are rising sharply in some parts of the country, caused by the spread of the highly infectious Omicron variant of COVID-19, although compared to many other countries the absolute numbers remain low. And, given the country’s stated policy of zero COVID-19, the responses of national and local authorities were harsh and restrictive.

Today’s focus is on Shanghai, where a metropolitan area of ​​25 million people has been barred in two phases for much of last week. With 2,000 military doctors currently being sent to the city, repeated mass tests for the disease are now under way. Cinemas in Shanghai remain closed, with a significant impact on national business levels.

Artisan Gateway estimates that the box office year to date is $ 2.20 billion. This is 24% lower than the same point last year.

The weekend chart was complicated not only by the closing of the cinemas, but also by a staggered series of movie releases.

Figures from consulting firm Artisan Gateway show “Moonfall” at the top for the second weekend, with a rating from Friday to Sunday of RMB 20.4 million or $ 3.2 million at current Renminbi exchange rates in US dollars.

“Escape Room: Tournament of Champions” was released on Saturday and finished second at the weekend with a two-day rating of RM 11.9 million ($ 1.9 million).

“Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” was released on Sunday and grossed RMB 11.7 million ($ 1.8 million).

In fourth place, the Hong Kong police thriller “Man on the Edge” earned 9.9 million RMB ($ 1.5 million) from a two-day preview. The film is scheduled for its official release on April 15, 2022.

The out-of-sync release pattern caused several quirks that are not fully reflected in the three-day chart.

Local sources indicated that four of Saturday’s top five films were American-made (“Moonfall” and “Escape Room 2” in first and second place, and “The Batman” and “Uncharted” in fourth and fifth, respectively). But local lockdowns and movie theaters mean the Hollywood situation is unfortunate.

On Sunday, “Hotel Transformania 4” was the top movie before “Moonfall” and “Escape Room 2”.

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