As Australia closes all cinemas, China reopens 500 venues | Film

China’s cinemas are gradually opening once more for business across the country, although ticket sales remain slow.

As the coronavirus outbreak begins signs of receding, more than 500 screens – of the country’s 70,000 – are once again showing films.

As of Monday, 507 cinemas were open – about 5% of China’s total – mostly in remote and coastal regions where new cases have not been recorded for more than a month.

On Sunday, the Australian federal government ordered the closure of cinemas across the country, with effect from noon on Monday – and with no end date set.

In two Chinese provinces, Fujian and Guangdong, no tickets were sold on Friday, and the total revenue was less than $2,000 (£1,725). Top of the box office was 2019 thriller Sheep Without a Shepherd; at No 2 was the animation Spycies.

Plans were unveiled last week for a programme of tried-and-tested box office draws to lure audiences back to cinemas when more are expected to open in the coming weeks.

These include blockbusters such as Wolf Totem, new releases like Green Book, and a rerelease of the first Harry Potter film. All profits will go to cinemas, with distributors and producers waiving their cut.

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