Starting next week, certain theaters in China will open in regions at low risk for COVID-19 cases. Theaters across China have closed since late January amid the coronavirus pandemic, the country with the longest shut-downs than any other.
This is one of the first steps to bringing the international movie industry back on its feet after six months of severe financial stresses and crises, if not bankruptcy, of numerous studios and exhibition/production companies. However, not all movie theaters in China will be opening all at once.
Starting Monday, July 20, Chinese cinemas are set to display at least a total of 22 films on the big screen. The release dates were revealed Friday, a day after the China Film Administration gave specific theaters permission to reopen. The administration also stated that middle and high-risk regions must remain temporarily closed.
On July 24, action pic Bloodshot and family-friendly adventure epic Dolittle will open on July 24, becoming the first Hollywood movies to play in China.
Bloodshot was released March 13 stateside. Its upcoming China release could boost its profitability, currently at $29 million globally, with headliner Vin Diesel garnering a large fan base in the country from his Fast & Furious franchise role.
Universal’s Dolittle was expected to screen back on Feb. 21 in China before the pandemic shut it down. Chinese fans will be delighted to see Dolittle star Robert Downey Jr. back onscreen, who also plays the iconic role of Tony Stark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Oscar winning war film 1917 will open in the world’s second-largest moviegoing market a week later.
Other U.S. films opening next week include Pursuit of Happyness, Coco, and A Dog’s Purpose, and Lebanese film Capernaum.
Pursuit of Happyness, starring Will Smith, had a short run in China back in 2008, grossing just $848,000. Coco fared off extremely well, grossing over $189 million in 2017.
With all the wide range of U.S. films, along with Chinese re-run titles, hitting the theaters, it is all up to whether Chinese movie-goers are willing to head back to the ‘new normal; of what used to be everyday, casual public entertainment.