BEIJING/SINGAPORE, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Cinema stocks jumped in Hong Kong on Tuesday as Chinese box offices set a revenue record of over 6 billion yuan ($929.63 million) for the week beginning Feb. 11, following a movie-going rush at the start of Lunar New Year holiday break.
The figure, from data compiled by online ticketing platform Maoyan Entertainment, surpassed the previous week-long record of 5.9 billion yuan set in the same holiday period in 2019, and represents a full recovery from a coronavirus-induced slump last year.
To preempt the spread of the virus following a resurgence in cases in January, local authorities have discouraged people from travelling to their home towns for the holiday. Some authorities such as in Shanghai even provided free movie tickets to encourage people stay put for their holiday entertainment.
Cinemas in Beijing opened as early as 8 am and as late as 3 am to attract younger customers, while limiting occupancy to half of seats available to promote social distancing, reported China’s official People’s Daily.
The 6 billion yuan record reflects “robust momentum of China’s film industry”, the newspaper said on social media platform Weibo on Monday.
Cinema stocks jumped on Tuesday as Hong Kong kicked off its first trading day after the holiday break.
Shares of IMAX China Holding Inc soared as much as 90% in the morning session, while Alibaba Pictures Group Ltd and Maoyan Entertainment both rose by more than 20%.
China’s movie industry suffered losses in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but box offices recovered after cinemas reopened in June following a six-month closure, with outbreaks contained and a travel ban eased.
$1 = 6.4542 Chinese yuan renminbi
Reporting by Cheng Leng and Aizhu Chen; Editing by Christopher Cushing