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Locally-made action comedy “The Grand Grandmaster” emerged on top of the Hong Kong box office during the Lunar New Year holiday. But, hit by the aftermath of political protest and growing precautions against the coronavirus threat, the theatrical business took a steep tumble.

Aggregate box office over the four days between Saturday and Tuesday amounted to $5.52 million (HK$42.9 million) according to data from Hong Kong Box Office Limited, a joint venture of the Motion Picture Industry Association and the Hong Kong Theatre Association. That was a 30% drop compared with the equivalent period in 2019.

Unlike the hard hit mainland China industry, cinemas in Hong Kong remain open, and new releases went ahead as scheduled. But public, enterprise and government are all tuned in to details of the virus outbreak. People are actively limiting their travel within the city and are avoiding large crowds, where the disease could easily be spread.

“The Grand Grandmaster” earned $2.17 million (HK$16.9 million) during the four-day festivities, for a 39% share of the market. It has accumulated $3.15 million (HK$24.5 million) in total since its Thursday release.

In second place, Universal’s “Dolittle” talked up $892,000 (HK$6.98 million) for 16% of the market. It has accumulated $1.32 million since another Thursday release.

Lesser places were claimed by “Spies in Disguise” with $570,000 (HK$4.40 million); Hong Kong family comedy “All’s Well Ends Well 2020” with $562,000 (HK$4.37 million); comedy “You Are The One” with $360,000 (HK$2.9- million); and comedy remake “Enter The Fat Dragon” with $350,000 ($2.70 million).

Mainland Chinese authorities say that cases of coronavirus have now emerged in every province, making a total of 7,326 confirmations. The death toll was revised up to 170. Hong Kong, in contrast, has recorded ten cases and no deaths.

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