Hong Kong Movie Theaters Reopening This Week With Social Distancing Measures In Place

Even though China briefly reopened some movie theaters in March, the nation ended up closing them again when the spread of coronavirus appeared to get worse with a cautious return to business as usual. But Hong Kong, which mostly operates independently and autonomously from mainland China, is preparing to open movie theaters this week. This comes after strict social distancing measures, high public awareness, and escalated control measures kept the pandemic from growing exponentially in the region, despite being one of the first areas impacted by the virus spreading from Wuhan, China.

Variety has word on about Hong Kong movie theaters reopening after an announcement was made by the city's Chief Executive Carrie Lam after a meeting of the Executive Council. This likely won't be the kind of situation that happened in China where theaters reopened too soon, because Hong Kong has done an incredible job of controlling the spread of the virus. The total number of confirmed cases in Hong Kong only reached 1,041, and there were only four virus-related deaths. While there were 17 new cases reported on 10 of the past 17 days, all of those cases were incoming travelers. While there have been reports of China deflating the real number of coronavirus cases, Hong Kong operates separately and appears to have more trustworthy data.

As for what Hong Kong movie theaters will be showing, the leading theater chain, Broadway Cinemas, is kicking things off with a mix of older titles and newer Asian and Hollywood movies, as well as indie movies from the United States. Some of the titles include Bloodshot, The Gentlemen, Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot starring Joaquin Phoenix and Tora-san, Wish You Were Here. Universal and DreamWorks Animation's Trolls World Tour will also be seeing a theatrical release in Hong Kong, along with Focus Features' Emma following next week. It's not clear if Hong Kong has plans to play movies like Harry Potter in 4K 3D or The Avengers movies, as was the plan for mainland China back in March.

Even though Hong Kong's coronavirus cases have dwindled, theaters will still be instilling social distancing measures for the time being. That includes not filling theaters to capacity, and even dictating certain seating patterns to keep people from being too close to each other. These kind of precautions also apply to other business that will soon be reopening as well, such as bars, gyms, and salons, though Hong Kong's signature night clubs and karaoke spots will still remain closed.

This is just the first of many slow steps that Hong Kong will be taking in order to get back to some semblance of normal. The city is in what Hong Kong's Financial Secretary Paul Chan calls a "deep recession," and it will take a long time to climb out of it. The city was already facing economic downturn due to the anti-government backlash that emerged before the spread of the pandemic. Now the question will be if people are eager to go back to these places as soon as they're open or if they'll keep their distance until more time has passed. We'll find out soon enough.