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China closes all movie theaters again after hundreds reopen

Some movie theaters in China recently started to reopen after closing amid the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis, but they didn't remain in operation for long.

Beijing's Film Bureau in a notice on Friday ordered all of China's movie theaters to once again close despite more than 600 cinemas previously getting the green light to reopen, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The few hundred theaters that were resuming operations in China represented a fairly small percentage of the theaters in the country, and reports indicated they weren't selling very many tickets. But more were expected to gradually follow, with Deadline reporting that over 200 cinemas were set to reopen in Shanghai this Saturday. IndieWire notes that the "theaters that were preparing to reopen had been given specific permission from their local governments."

Recent blockbusters were going to be rereleased in China after theaters closed across the country in January to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Just a few days ago, it was reported that all four of Marvel's Avengers movies, as well as James Cameron's Avatar, would be rereleased.

The Reporter says the notice on Friday offered no explanation for the reversal but reports that "industry insiders instantly began speculating that the government was worried about a potential second wave of coronavirus infections." One executive told the Reporter "this second closure will not be a one or two-week issue," warning, "this will set us back a long time."