BEIJING, China: During the recent Lunar New Year holiday, ticket sales at Chinese movie theaters reached a record breaking $1.2 billion.
Additionally, that figure equaled ten percent of global movie ticket sales for all of 2020.
Still, new records were set as 160 million Chinese attended 2.9 million screenings.
China has also released box office totals, with the movie Detective Chinatown 3 taking in $550 million during the holiday, followed by Hi, Mom earning $422 million and A Writer's Odyssey reporting $83.7 million in sales.
Industry insiders, however, note that a gap is now expected in releasing new movies, as the pipeline of content is no longer full.
"Many film investors will be more cautious about investing this year. Also, even if producers start filming now, they won't possibly be able to release works before October at the earliest, which will leave a period empty of new releases," The Paper, a local newspaper, reported.
And there is uncertainty about Hollywood filling the gap in new movies to be screened in China. "The main source of imported films is the U.S., but its pandemic situation remains uncertain, so it will be more difficult to bring in new imported films," an industry insider told The Paper.
Others in China, however, were more optimistic.
The record box office "indicates not only that the industry is warming up again, but also that with the effective prevention and control of the COVID-19 pandemic, China's box office this year could reach new highs," the Beijing News wrote.
Helping to ensure this is a record year, China added nearly 6,000 new screens in 2020, and 15,500 screens since 2019.
Also, ticket prices have increased.
What seems, however, to have contributed most to this year's box office was a request by the government for citizens not to travel to their hometowns due to the Covid pandemic.
Needing to fill their time during the holidays, the public turned to attending movies.
"People can't travel and temple fairs are cancelled, so going to the movies has become the most important pastime this Spring Festival. We can spend the money we would have otherwise used to travel to go watch films," according to Chen Wenshi, as quoted in the Beijing News.