The decision came just hours after the country was set to gradually reopen their cinemas

By Nicholas Rice
March 27, 2020 11:17 AM
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Empty movie theater
Credit: Getty

After giving hundreds of cinemas the green light to reopen on Saturday, China’s government has reversed the order indefinitely due to what many speculate are remaining fears about the current coronavirus pandemic.

Beijing’s Film Bureau put out a notice on Friday retracting their original plan and ordering all theaters to go back into shutdown, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The decision came just hours after the country was set to gradually reopen their cinemas.

No official explanation for the reversal was provided but according to a report from The Hollywood Reporter, industry insiders speculate that the government was worried about a potential second outbreak of coronavirus infections.

China’s cinemas were set to rerelease an array of films when they reopened for the first time since going into lockdown in January.

Box office hits Avengers: Endgame and Avatar were set to both be rereleased in the country along with all three of the other Avengers films and Christopher Nolan’s films Inception and Interstellar. Chinese blockbusters Wolf Warrior 2, The Wandering Earth and Wolf Totem were also set to be rereleased.

Back in 2009, Avatar earned a then-record $202 million in China, while Avengers: Endgame took the top spot last year with $619 million last year. Worldwide, the two films are the highest-grossing blockbusters in history.

Children wearing face masks cross a road during a Lunar New Year of the Rat public holiday in Hong Kong on January 27, 2020
Credit: ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty

The lockdown in China began on Jan. 23 after the city of Wuhan became the epicenter for the COVID-19 outbreak, which began in late December.

But the outbreak in China has rapidly slowed down. Earlier this month, the country announced no new domestic cases of coronavirus for the first time since the outbreak began.

On Tuesday, Hubei provincial authorities announced on the government’s website that the strict quarantine measures on Wuhan, would be lifted on April 8.

China has slowly returned to normal life, and leaders have allowed workers in Hubei province to return to closed factories over the last week. Transportation in the city will resume and people in Wuhan will be allowed to leave the Hubei province next month, Bloomberg reported.