China's film industry bounces back from pandemic hit

Zhu Shenshen
Film directors, producers, distributors, streaming websites and industry executives all expressed confidence in the market during a recent forum.
Zhu Shenshen

After suffering a heavy blow from the COVID-19 pandemic, China's film industry is on track toward recovery, industry insiders said during a forum on Monday.

Film directors, producers, distributors, streaming websites and various industry executives were all confident in the market's recovery, they told the Global Film Industry Value Chain Development Forum, an event during the ongoing Shanghai International Film Festival. 

China, with the world’s most cinema screens and largest film audience, is on the “right track” after it began gradually reopening theaters nationwide last week, said Fu Ruoqing, vice chairman of the China Film Co.

In the past week, Chinese cinemas attracted 4.15 million viewers and earned 110 million yuan (US$15.7 million) at box offices, Fu told the forum, adding that these figures are “higher than industry expectations.”

Meanwhile, China Film has invested 200 million yuan to offer coupons and free tickets to stimulate the market, especially to medical workers and students. 

Wang Zhonglei, CEO of Huayi Brothers Media Crop, said audiences still crave “two-hour immersive experiences” in cinemas, despite spending more “fragmented time” on short video and social media websites. 

Huayi Brothers will launch blockbuster films in cinemas every month starting in August, Wang told the forum.

iQiyi, one of top streaming websites in China, is seeking new ways to distribute films directly online. It released the fantasy film "Zhengtu" recently online, which cost 300 million yuan to produce, said Yang Xianghua, iQiyi’s senior vice president. 

China's film industry bounces back from pandemic hit
Zhu Shenshen / SHINE

Film director Lu Chuan (center) speaks during the SIFF forum on Monday. 

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