COVID-19 Impacts on Film and Movie Theaters - Japan
Due to COVID-19, film and movie theaters in Japan were forced to close temporarily, refund tickets bought in advance by its customers, and even enforce interval seating arrangements inside the cinemas. In addition, film festivals, movie releases, cinema previews, whether big or small, were either postponed or canceled.
- Film-making in Japan started in 1897, making it not only one of the largest but also one of the oldest industries of its kind worldwide.
- In 2019, gross box office revenue was at 261 billion Japanese Yen.
- Japan has a total count of 3,583 cinema screens as of 2019.
- The four largest film making companies in Japan are Shochiku, Toho, Toei, and Kadokawa Pictures.
- Major cinema chains in Japan are Toho, Aeon, Movix, and 109 Cinemas Cineplex.
- 79.82% of the amusement services industry is affected by COVID-19 in Japan.
- Due to COVID-19, Japan Box Office is down by 73% versus the same period last year.
- Toho Cinema allowed refunds to advance ticket buyers. Tickets may be refunded right up before screening time.
- Shochiku also began offering refunds to cinema-goers starting from the last week of February 2020 for their more than 20 branches. Details of the refund process are on their website.
- Aeon Cinema also refunded tickets bought in advance. Customers must contact the cinema before the start of the screening for the process.
- Other cinemas who offered refunds to their customers include: Theatre Cinemas Group Human Trust Cinema Yurakucho & Shibuya, Theater Shinjuku, Cine Libre Ikebukuro, Kineka Omori, Shintokorozawa Let's Cine Park, Theater Umeda, Cine Libre Umeda, Cine Libre Kobe Implementation, Shinjuku Musashinokan and Shinjuku Cinema Karit, Cinemart Shinjuku and Cinemamart Shinsaibashi.
Cancellation of Events
- The largest film festival in Western Japan, the Osaka Asian Film Festival, scheduled for March 6-15, canceled all stage introductions and related events.
- Relatively smaller festivals like Onomichi Film Festival (Feb. 28 – March 1), Kitakan Film Festival (Feb. 29), Eejanaika Toyohashi Cinema Festival (March 13-15), and AnimeJapan 2020 (March 21-24), also canceled their event.
- Movix Kyoto Dolby Cinema premiere of "Fukushima 50", an action drama movie about Japan's nuclear meltdown in 2011, by Kodokawa Pictures, did not push through.
- "Harley Quinn's Brilliant Awakening Birds of Prey" Dolby Cinema preview on March 5 was canceled.
Postponing of Film Releases and Festivals
- Toho pulled out of the release of its biggest anime franchise installment, "Doraemon the Movie: Nobita's New Dinosaur."
- The 28th PreCure Feature Film, a film encouraging children in the audience to participate through dancing, slated for release on March 20, was postponed. A new date will be released once the public health situation is fully assessed.
- The 14th Toho Cinema Student Film Festival scheduled March 27 will also be delayed.
- Even global distributors postponed releases even though spring breaks are usually peak months. Some movies affected were Disney's "Mulan," Paramount's "Sonic the Hedgehog," Pixar's "Onward," Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women” and "No Time to Die" of James Bond.
- Aeon Cinema announced the temporary closure of its nine theaters in Hokkaido and other infected areas starting March 7 – 15.
- Large and small theaters across the country are also either temporarily or totally closing during the crisis.
- Other movie theaters who announced temporary closures were United Cinema Sapporo, Dinos Cinemas Tomakomai and Dinos Cinemas Asahikawa, Iwanami Hall, and Waseda Shochiku.