(ECNS) -- In China, more than half of cinemas have resumed business as the country optimized COVID-19 prevention and control measures, with many popular films including Avatar: The Way of Water to be screened in the upcoming days.
Data from Maoyan, an entertainment services provider, shows that as of Wednesday, 6,558 movie theaters across the country opened to the public, accounting for 52.77 percent of the national total, with 31.93 million visitors.
On Wednesday, the cinema operating rate in 12 provinces (municipalities) across the country exceeded 50 percent. Among them, Guangdong, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Sichuan, Anhui, Guizhou and Shanghai saw operating rates exceeding 70 percent, data shows.
Beijing scrapped COVID test requirements for cinemas in its latest optimization plan Wednesday. But the number of movie viewers in the capital was still limited as the optimized measures were only released a few days ago. The operating rate of cinemas on Wednesday in Beijing was only 8.33 percent, data shows.
There are a total of 2,007 seats in the 11 halls of Universal CityWalk Cinema, but there were only 97 visits as of 6 p.m. on Wednesday
A staff member of Universal CityWalk Cinema said that there are not many movies showing and that most viewers are expecting the Avatar: The Way of Water to be screened in the upcoming days.
After the movie is screened, cinema halls are expected to be full again, the staff said.
Dengta big data shows that as of 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, in less than two days after the preview, pre-sale box office figures reached 52.58 million yuan ($7.56 million) in the Chinese mainland.
According to the box office forecast, Avatar: The Way of Water will make between 1.8 billion yuan ($0.26 billion) and 3.125 billion yuan.
"The pre-sale and unveil time of the movie, which has huge IP influence and high reputation, coincides with the optimization of China's COVID-19 control measures, so it embraces a very favorable environment, said Zhang Yi, chief analyst and CEO of iiMedia Research.
China's film market is expected to usher in an inflection point with this film, he added.