After being shut for almost six months, the cinemas are finally reopening beginning on July 20, 2020.
The China Film Administration, in a circular last week, allowed cinemas in low-risk areas to resume operation with effective epidemic prevention measures in place.
A guideline issued by the Chinese Film Circulation and Projection Association asked cinemas to limit their attendance per show to 30 percent capacity and sell non-adjacent tickets in every other row. Moviegoers must make real-name reservations, wear masks and those who do not know each other should keep a distance of at least one meter, the guideline read.
Box office receipts broke 3 million yuan and 129,100 tickets were issued by Monday evening. Media outlets on Monday reported that at least 835 cinemas in more than 120 cities have screened films on Monday.
So far, 43 films have been scheduled for release, mainly older films.
"A First Farewell," an award-winning movie revolving around two children in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, was among the few new movies that hit the screen Monday, while many others were re-screened box office hits, including Chinese sci-fi blockbuster "The Wandering Earth" and 2017 animation "Coco."
The box office performed within expectations at the first day of the reopening of cinemas, said Securities Daily, citing Shi Yedong, a senior industry insider. Currently, the main audience is die-hard fans and film practitioners, Shi added.
The moviegoers are mainly in first- and second-tier cities. Due to a shortage of new releases and most re-releases being available online, audiences have little incentive to go to the cinema at the moment.
In Beijing, which lowered its COVID-19 emergency response from level II to III Monday, cinemas were still in preparation for reopening. Cinemas in Beijing's low-risk areas for COVID-19 can resume operations on Friday.