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Asia Minute: China's movie season sees a stronger start in the New Year

APTOPIX China Movies Return
Mark Schiefelbein/AP
People wearing face masks to protect against the coronavirus sit spaced apart as they watch the film "Dolittle" at a movie theater in Beijing, Friday, July 24, 2020.

So far, the Year of the Rabbit is bringing more Chinese residents back to the movie theater — at least compared to a year ago.

Hong Kong entertainment company Maoyan has said that as of Wednesday night, box office numbers were up 9% compared to the same period last year.

That's despite the fact that COVID cases are still high across China, although the government has said that both case numbers and deaths passed their peak already.

First day ticket sales were a bit slow compared to the last two new year's holidays, but theater chains report they have picked up since then.

The most popular movies are all made in China, but in different genres.

A pair of movies top the list, starting with “The Wandering Earth 2”— which is a science fiction prequel to a 2019 hit.

Next is “Full River Red,” which Variety calls a “historical suspense comedy.”

They are followed by a WWII spy thriller, a fantasy comedy and two animated movies — one for adults and one for children.

The Avatar sequel “The Way of Water” has already been playing in China for more than a month, but in general, foreign films are not finding an easy path to Chinese audiences.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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