As its citizens trickle back to work, China is attempting to kickstart its economy again after measures to prevent the spread of the virus brought many sectors to a near standstill. Local governments across the country are now planning steps to keep huge swathes of the exhibition industry from going belly-up, as cinemas grapple with high overheads but no audiences to bring in revenue.
The Beijing film bureau will make three categories of funds available to cinemas that apply for them before March 27, it said in a notice posted late Tuesday.
The first will be “specialized subsidies for the epidemic situation,” calculated according to each cinema’s losses during the epidemic and 2019 ticket sales. The second will be support for new cinemas that opened between 2016 and 2018. A third pot of money will be doled as “rewards for showing domestically produced films” to cinemas who made more than 40% of their total box office revenue last year from Chinese titles — indicating the government’s continued interest in bolstering local production so that it can stand on its own up to global competition.
The notice did not include further info on how much money would be distributed in aid, nor when.
It comes, however, just a day after authorities in southern Guangdong province announced that they planned to allocate nearly $7 million in funds to support the region’s 1,337 cinemas, which were ordered shut Jan. 24. If the proposal is approved, cinemas will receive between $1,430 and $44,300 (RMB10,000 to RMB310,000), proportionate to how much they earned in box office receipts last year.
Other regions such as Henan, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces have put out vaguely worded support plans of their own, though none mention dollar amounts.