Among the last businesses to reopen, cinemas have suffered a massive earnings hit.
China’s largest cinema chain, Wanda Film, said it expects to report a loss of at least 1.5 billion yuan ($214 million) for the first half of the year.
Industry recovery will be slow due to lingering COVID-19 concerns and restrictions placed on movie houses, said Chinese producer and screenwriter Fang Li, who has three productions stuck in the pipeline due to the virus.
“Even if commercial films are released after cinemas reopen, they will suffer more than 50 percent losses compared to before the epidemic,” Fang said, predicting it could take a decade for the industry to fully recover.
Illustrating the risks, a new outbreak emerged late last week in China’s far-western Xinjiang region.
The regional capital of Urumqi has since implemented mass health screenings and shut down most air traffic into the city and local public transport.
by Lillian DING / Dan Martin