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Movie theaters reopen to warm reception



After closing for nearly six months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Shanghai Tianshan Cinema was among the country's first batch of cinemas that reopened to the public on July 20.

The first movie the cinema screened was A First Farewell at 9:50 am. The 27 tickets for the movie-only 30 percent of the seats are allowed to be occupied due to social-distancing measures-were sold out in less than an hour, an indication of how eager movie buffs were to return to the theaters.

It was really tough for all the cinemas during the pandemic. We feel so lucky to be one of the first to reopen, says a representative from Tianshan Cinema, surnamed Zhang.

The China Film Administration issued a notice on July 16 saying that cinemas in low-risk areas could resume business on July 20, provided that effective prevention and control measures are implemented.

According to Zhang, the cinema has taken the implementation of epidemic-prevention measures seriously. Some of these measures include frequent disinfection of the premises and having staff wear masks and gloves at all times. Masks are also changed every four hours.

In terms of audience control, the number of movies being screened daily will be reduced by half compared with normal circumstances, and the 30 percent audience limitation will be strictly adhered to.

Tianshan Cinema has screened an average of 20 movies daily, with customer numbers averaging around 285.

When some people come with children or friends, we will persuade them not to sit beside one another. We also offer masks to those who have forgotten to bring theirs and remind them that the mask should be worn throughout the movie, says Zhang.

What impressed me the most since the resumption of movie screenings is that movie fans are very cooperative and considerate of our work.

Since Saturday, two of the eight screening rooms have been exclusively screening creations listed in the lineup of the 23rd Shanghai International Film Festival, according to Zhang.

Zhang Yunqi, who has watched six shows since the cinemas reopened, says that the reduced audience numbers have resulted in a more peaceful movie experience.

The staff will remind people to put on their masks if they take them off during the movie. I feel safe in such a viewing environment.


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