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Business trends

Theater shutdown adds to bleak picture for Chinese cinema

Coronavirus-triggered closures compound problems of overcapacity in sector

A couple walk past the shuttered Megabox cinema in Beijing in February. Moviegoing was virtually halted by the coronavirus outbreak, dealing a big blow to China's film industry.   © AFP/ Jiji

TOKYO -- Weekends and holidays, like the upcoming Golden Week that starts Friday, are typically bustling times for Chinese movie theaters. No longer.

Instead, the country's movie industry has been doing a painful twist on the silent film era, with the doors of China's theaters closed for three months. From China Film, the largest state-owned cinema conglomerate and also a big film producer, to smaller movie houses, the industry  is caught in a severe financial squeeze.

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