This Pandemic Can’t Stop China, Japan from Saving the Movie Theater Industry

This Pandemic Can’t Stop China, Japan from Saving the Movie Theater Industry

Way to go American and British nerds. You can’t even go to the movie theater right. First, it’s car manufacturing, then electronics and gaming. For some reason, China and Japan pummel the U.S. and UK in everything that means getting a leg up on the competition.

Credit: r/fred28046

You know, when your stomach is aching and you just must do the nastiest of things in a public restroom? Japan’s got you covered!

They even have a sound box in the stall to “flush” out the natural, guttural sounds you are making. They think of everything!

And now, they have thought if they have masks, maintain social distancing, and eat with plastic sporks, they can go to the movie theater.

The news is spreading too: “If you’re not a dumbass, you too can go to the movies.” Even in Thailand, where the featured image is from, that’s a full movie theater — within certain regulations — about to be witnessed. And yet, we are watching Cineworld and AMC Theaters die a tragic death.

Going to the Movies? Pandemic, Shmandemic!

China and Japan have never beaten the US and UK in movie theater attendance...until now.
Credit: AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein

If you are a Manga or Anime fan, you may have heard about “Demon Slayer: Mugen Train.” Japanese filmmakers took a chance on their fans. They made this Japanese comic book into a film. It’s been regaled, anticipated, and debated.

Source: Aniplex/Ufotable

Would people go back to the movie theater to see some nerd movie? The answer was a resounding “Yes!”

This animated film just had the biggest box office weekend in the country’s history — and second place isn’t even in the rear-view! Pandemic?! Whatevs.

I don’t get it. Isn’t going to a movie theater supposed to be a death sentence? Chains are closing. Franchises are delaying. Hollywood is shuttering. Yet, here’s Japan and China soaring in ticket sales because it’s an escape…that can be managed.

The New York Times has a theory:

Japan has kept coronavirus cases and deaths low, with a relatively light touch that relies on contact tracing and appeals to a national sense of social responsibility. While infections are soaring again in much of the West, the daily number of new cases in Japan has stayed below 800 since the end of August, and in Tokyo, daily life, at least on the surface, has mostly returned to normal.

The New York Times, Oct. 2020

Get that? “Returned to normal.” That one weekend was 3.4 million people shelling out nearly $44 million on tickets for Demon Slayer. And Tenet barely broke even here. In China, it’s the same storyline.

From an AP story, we learn Tickets at Poly International Cinema’s branch near Tiananmen Square don’t seem to have a problem “selling out” (at 30% capacity).

China’s domestic movie industry has also been generating major ticket sales while audiences have warmed to features from India and other foreign countries.

Indian Express, July 2020

We Are the Last Hope for Any Movie Theater

Source: AP/File

What are we doing wrong? Well, that’s easy if you think about it. “Not complying!

Credit: Mark Makela/Getty Images

How many stories do we see from protests about business shutdowns, curfews, and now there’s even a term for these nitwits with a death wish: Anti-Maskers.

You see protest signs like this in China or Japan? Of course, you don’t. Did you know in Asia they even have a catchy slogan called “The 3Cs”?

  • Closed spaces
  • Crowded places
  • Close contact

Avoid those things, and we’ll get back to normal. And what happened? A movie theater opened its doors and look at all the people, wearing masks, not eating, and enjoying social distancing…and each other.

More proof came over the weekend in China. As a result of the 3Cs, China has topped the United States in movie theater attendance, for the first time ever.

“…Unlike the U.S., China effectively contained the pandemic while theaters were closed. The result is very different levels of audience comfort regarding movie attendance. Over China’s recent National Day holiday, Oct. 1 through 8, Chinese cinemas reportedly sold $586 million worth of tickets. During that same period, U.S. theaters sold about $12 million worth.”

NPR, Oct. 2020

It’s that easy: 3Cs. They sure as hell won’t work here, which is why Marvel Studios and Warner Bros. has tucked their tail and headed to 2021. They can’t even count on geeks!

Credit: r/Biflindi

I miss a good movie theater experience, don’t you?

You know, Japan has even figured out moving trucks. They have this sweet rig that can open from the sides! Imagine how fast you can pack and unpack all your crap with all that space?

Something cinema chains may want to invest in because it looks like we’re helping them all into bankruptcy. Man, they really do think of everything, including of the greater good.

Do you like VOD? Getting tired of streaming everything? Tough. As long as we can’t count and do our ABCs, we may not have a choice.


Featured Image Credit: AP Photo, Jerry Harmer/Bangkok, Thailand
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I write for a living, among other things in the digital journalism and analytics universe. So I'm a little like a nerd unicorn. But no bronies. Move along.
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