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February 13, 2020 8:13 AM
China's Film Industry Hopes for Bailouts as Coronavirus Crisis Worsens
Posted by Staff
The Hollywood Reporter:

With nearly all of China's 70,000 movie theaters still weeks — if not months — away from reopening, many in the Beijing film industry have begun to hope for government bailouts as the only means of keeping their businesses afloat.

The cinema sector, to be sure, is just one of many areas of the enormous Chinese economy that has been hard hit by the novel coronavirus pneumonia, now officially known as COVID-19. But Beijing is starting to send signals that it understands that the film sector has been particularly exposed.

On Feb. 5, different departments of the Chinese government, or organizations affiliated with it, began discretely disseminating online questionnaires to senior local film figures. The surveys came from bodies ranging from the Commerce Department to the Film Bureau and National Art House Alliance, several of the recipients told The Hollywood Reporter. The documents asked the film professionals to assess in detail how much damage the coronavirus crisis has done to areas of the film industry, and to suggest ideas for actions the government could take to help.

The arrival of the surveys came as cold comfort to many in the industry — at least the government appeared sympathetic to their plight — but it also deepened the sense of alarm over just how destructive the public health crisis has already become for the entertainment and services sectors.

China's movie theaters began shutting their doors en masse around Jan. 24, on the eve of Chinese New Year, which typically makes for the most lucrative week of moviegoing anywhere in the world.

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