Well-known Chinese news site Sina (NASDAQ: SINA) recently reported that, according to statistics from the Office of National Film Special Fund Management Committee, during the 2022 Qingming National Festival Period (April 3 – April 5), the total box office revenue in China was RMB 122 million yuan (around US$19.15 million). Last year, the box office total for the same period reached RMB 820 million yuan (around US$128.7 million). Except for the full shutdown of theaters in the same period in 2020, this result is the lowest box office number for the same period in the past decade. Statistics also showed that the total number of screenings in the Qingming Festival Period was 627,900 this year. The figure was nearly halved year-over-year. The number of movie-goers reached 3,420,200, only one-sixth of what it was for the same period last year. A number of factors are involved. Behind the bleak box office is the sluggish theater operating rate and the withdrawal of films. Nearly half of the theaters across the country were closed because they were affected by the spread of Covid-19. The operating rate of theaters in the major movie markets in Shanghai, Jiangsu, Shandong and other regional markets was less than five percent. This was especially so for the theater operating rate in Shanghai which was zero. The State Film Administration issued a notice that all theaters in medium and high-risk areas will not be allowed to open for the time being. Affected by this order, a large number of movies were withdrawn. Under the brutal market environment, theaters have been forced to turn to another business. There are regional projection operators who switched to the food catering market. Local governments are providing subsidies to the industry to help sustain it.
Source: Sina, April 6, 2022