Children visit a cinema exhibition in Zhengzhou, Henan Province. XINHUA

An Shanxuan and her 8-year-old son arrived at the theater 40 minutes early, yet it was already packed with enthusiastic moviegoers.

It was the third film An had watched at the Beijing International Film Festival which ended on August 20. An, a regular at Beijing film festivals, said she bought 12 tickets this year, spending more than 700 yuan ($102).

“The festival is so popular that I had to set an alarm to buy tickets,” she says.

Tickets for the week-long film festival sold out as soon as they became available for reservations, indicating that the event gave a boost to the recovering Chinese film industry, which has been hit hard by the pandemic. The festival’s high-quality films have attracted all types of film lovers, from families to senior citizens.

“This summer’s movie market has rebounded to an optimal level, both in terms of theater attendance and the availability of popular movies,” said Liu Zhenfei, senior analyst at Maoyan Research Institute.

However, in the first half of this year, the Chinese cinema box office plummeted due to sporadic cases of COVID-19. This month, the Chinese Film Administration announced that it would issue 100 million yuan worth of movie vouchers to fuel consumers’ enthusiasm for going to the cinema.

Such donations are likely to boost the country’s box office by 500 million yuan to 1 billion yuan, Zheshang Securities said in a report.

The film industry is not the only sector that is growing. While the fight against the pandemic has made people aware of their health and the need to exercise, several industry experts say that innovative gyms will stand out in the long run from their competitors.

Locker Space, a fitness club in Beijing, launched online training classes when a spike in COVID-19 cases hampered normal operation earlier this year.

“The online classes have successfully met the exercise demands of many people during the lockdowns,” said Chu Zhen, director of the club.

Industry figures show that the number of monthly active users of many fitness apps has increased compared to last year.

The country’s growing wealth and people’s growing concern about their health amid the pandemic have fueled the sports boom, pushing patrons to splurge in sports.

The latest industry report shows that in China, about 67.5% of people aged 7 and above have engaged in physical exercise at least once a week this year, up 18.5 percentage points. percentage compared to 2014.

In addition to common gym workouts, niche sports such as paddleboarding, discus throwing and cycling have gained popularity on social media platforms this summer.

Chu, who is also a flying disc enthusiast, says he once played the sport eight times a week. “It’s not just a game for me. It gives me the thrill of extreme focus and devotion.”

Riding the wave of new sports, Locker Space has developed playful outdoor activity trails including flying disc sessions. “The classes provide an outlet for people’s desires for outdoor sports amid the pandemic,” Chu said.

During the Beijing Sports Consumption Festival this month, consumption of sports-related services rose 56% month on month, and sales of outdoor sportswear rose 81%. compared to the same period last year, according to online retailer JD.com.

Xinhua