The pandemic makes China the world’s top movie box office for the first time

The prolonged closure of the US, which dominated the market to date, facilitates the ‘sorpasso’ of the Asian country, where theaters gradually reopened and billed some 1,698 million so far this year

Theaters in China this Sunday reached 1,988 million dollars (a little more than 1,698 million euros) so far this year, which exceeds the 1,933 million dollars (almost 1,641 million euros) of the US box office invoiced throughout 2020 and positions the Asian giant for the first time as the leader of the film market, according to reports The Hollywood Reporter. Although the theaters in the country were closed for about six months due to the covid-19 pandemic, strict control by the Beijing Government has allowed a gradual opening, with a current capacity of 75% of spectators, and launches such as the patriotic anthology My People, My Homeland (My people, my homeland), which since its premiere on October 1 has accumulated 360 million dollars (around 305 million euros). Many analysts have pointed out for years that China would sooner or later overtake the United States as the dominator of the global box office. What was not in the forecasts, obviously, is that the overtaking will be held due to a global pandemic. It is also estimated that the difference in income between theaters in both countries will increase by the end of the year.

Among other reasons, producers and distributors in the United States remain in a state of alarm. Expected feature films like Dune The Wonder Woman 1984 have been repeatedly postponed due to the concern that they do not raise enough to cover production expenses or it has been decided to cut off physical distribution and launch through platforms. streaming, as was the case with Disney with Mulán and more recently Soul, which will be seen only on Disney +, starting December 25.

At the same time, important markets such as California and New York, which accounted for a fifth of the North American box office last year, remain with most of their cinemas closed, according to the television channel NBC. Only two of nearly 300 existing cinemas in New York are open, but some days ago the state government announced the return to activity of the rooms, with a capacity of 25% and a maximum of 50 people.

Regal, which with 536 screens is the second largest chain of cinemas in the United States, closed on October 8 all your branches indefinitely. AMC, the only franchise that surpasses Regal in the country, stated in a report to the Securities and Exchange Commission that, if the current pace continues, its financial resources “could be exhausted by the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021”.

Earlier this month, a letter signed by more than 70 film directors, including Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, James Cameron and Christopher Nolan, asked the United States Congress and Senate to provide financial assistance for theaters, stating that 69 % of small and medium rooms will be forced to close permanently if there is no immediate change.

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