China May Reopen Theaters With 1st Harry Potter Movie
The Hollywood Reporter brings word that China is beginning to take steps towards reopening cinemas following massive theater closures throughout North America and Europe. China reportedly hit a big milestone in containing the coronavirus as health authorities reported that for the first time since the outbreak started, there were no new local infections of the virus, meaning public health has improved. The news is encouraging local officials to focus now on how to reboot the economy, including allowing consumers to go to the movies.
The outlet shares that small cinemas in remote regions of the county have attempted to reopen over the past week. Around 17 cinemas, located in areas such as Xinjiang, Qinghai, and Fujian, had reopened for business by Wednesday, though ticket sales were low.
One of the challenges of reopening theaters is finding projects to play after big films were pulled from the release calendar. Warner Bros. announced over Chinese social media that the studio would be releasing a new 4K version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in China. A release date has not yet been given.
Meanwhile, China’s Film Bureau, working alongside China Film Group, said they would “distribute the prints of five previously released box office hits to any cinema that is interested in showing them.” A deal has been worked out between government regulators and rights holders to the five titles to allow cinemas to keep 100 perfect of the ticket sale revenues.
The five movies include China’s biggest box office hit, Wolf Warrior 2 (2017), the sci-fi feature The Wandering Earth (2019), the period drama Wolf Totem (2015), Peter Chan’s American Dreams in China (2013), and Lebanese indie drama hit Capernaum (2018).
An executive for China’s Film Bureau called the effort a “charity exercise” to assist the struggling cinemas during the pandemic. “Many of them are really struggling and will soon go bankrupt if they don’t get more help. More creative efforts and support will be needed.”
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