Here’s What It’s Like to Go See Movies in China and Why It Seems to Be Working

As of July 20, most movie theaters in China have been allowed to reopen, with the exception of a few Covid hotspots like the far Western Xinjiang Province. Perhaps no one breathed a heavier sigh of relief than Fu Wenxia, Managing Director of the Shanghai International Film Festival. With opening night scheduled for July 25, the annual festival had been stuck in a state of limbo for months. Up until that point, organizers had considered hosting this year’s festival online, but knew it wouldn’t have nearly the same impact as having live audiences in the movie theater. “We were really nervous waiting for the final decision,” said Fu. “As soon as we got the news on July 16, we immediately announced our opening date.” Within two hours of their announcement, the festival had sold more than 90 percent of its tickets.

That enthusiasm has echoed throughout the country. Across China,

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