Chinese ticketing agency Maoyan has revealed 62% of moviegoers would not immediately return to cinemas after the containment of Covid-19, according to new research.

The new survey by Maoyan on Chinese people’s planned behaviours following the end of the pandemic found that 68% of respondents cited going to the cinema as their top choice for entertainment once the epidemic ends. This is second only to eating out with friends, which 69% of respondents looked forward to most.

Thirty-per-cent of respondents said they would return to cinemas as soon as they reopen, while a slightly higher figure of 33% said they would wait for the official announcement that Covid-19 has been completely contained before returning. More than 70,000 theatres have been shuttered due to the outbreak.

Just less than 30% of respondents said they would “wait for a while” after the official announcement before heading back to the cinema.

China is ahead of the curve having faced the coronavirus outbreak much earlier than most countries, with cinemas being closed since January 24. Several reports in the Chinese press in the last few days have indicated that venues may tentatively begin to reopen this week.

Today (Thursday), China’s national health commission has reported no new domestic transmissions of Covid-19. There have been 34 new cases, but all were recent overseas arrivals.

Venues owners have already been hit hard by the spread of the virus in not only China, but also across the UK and US, where the vast majority of theatres closed this week. The recent numbers indicate that even after the virus is contained, people may continue to remain at home due to fears of the virus lingering, meaning the impact could be elongated beyond containment.

Once reopened, there will be no shortage of product after many blockbusters paused their release dates until later in the year. These include Fast & Furious entry F9, Disney’s Mulan and James Bond film No Time to Die.