Chinese film studio begins shooting despite virus threat

SHANGHAI • The coronavirus outbreak brought despair to the Chinese box office, with shuttered cinemas delaying the release of highly anticipated Chinese New Year movies.

But the country's entertainment industry is now fighting back, with Hengdian World Studios, one of China's largest, back in shooting mode this week after a shutdown in recent weeks, reported the Variety trade portal.

The closure that began on Jan 27 affected the work of 20 production teams and the shooting plans of another 11.

The green light to resume work will be given initially to teams whose members had remained on-site during the suspension.

But the back-in-business news has not been welcomed by all.

TV actress Zhang Lingzhi posted about her worry over the safety of her husband, actor Johnny Chen, who has been staying in his hotel room while his shoot in Hengdian was stopped for 15 days.

"Is it really possible to resume work now?" she asked, adding that she is "worried, sad and helpless".

Other industry players are coming up with new strategies to minimise the gathering of many people within a confined space, reported Global Times.

Singing reality show Singer, for instance, is dropping its 500-strong studio audience, with the participants set to be filmed in their home towns. The footage will be aired online for people to vote.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 15, 2020, with the headline 'Chinese film studio begins shooting despite virus threat'. Print Edition | Subscribe