Movies are back. Sort of. The silver screens of Shanghai are being graced with re-runs of Harry Potter, Zootopia and some gems from the archives, but soon enough, we'll be seeing big hitters like Tenet and, distributors willing, maybe even Mulan.
Did you know you can get movie tickets without leaving your WeChat account? You can! Here's how.
Go to your WeChat Pay page. You've probably noticed that there are a bunch of icons. You may even have used some before. Scroll down to the bottom, you're looking for the one marked "Movie Tickets". It has a picture of a cat. Click it and it'll direct you to the mini-program Maoyan (猫眼), a third-party online movie ticket seller.
On the front page, the first thing you'll see is a list of the most popular movies in cinemas at the moment. If you select the second icon on the banner at the bottom, the one with a little film-reel icon that reads dianying / yingyuan (电影/影院), you can select a cinema and see what's showing, but we're going by which movie we want to see. Scroll through the carousel on the first page in order to find the movie you’re interested in. The colored tabs underneath the movies let you know if they're out yet: red means the movie is already in cinemas, blue means it hasn't premiered. You can pre-purchase tickets for both.
If you click into a movie, they'll show you a list of cinemas that are screening that movie. There are filters to organise the list by — from left to right — city district or nearest metro, cinema brand (pinpai / 品牌), or characteristic (tese / 特色), such as 4D, IMAX, etc.
Select a cinema, and choose which day you'd like (chosen from the little bar at the top) and which screening you'd like on that day.
Next step is choosing where to park your rear. With the pandemic going on, cinema chains have had to take precautions to ensure safety, such as separating seats by singles or couples. Once you have selected your seat, click on the orange tab at the bottom to agree.
You will see a notification asking you to agree to registering your information. Nominally, this is to ensure that you can be traced in case there's a positive COVID case, but at this stage, you should be fairly used to handing over your personal info. After all, you're on WeChat. During registry, you will only ("only") need to put in your full name, your form of documentation (Chinese ID / passport), and the number of the document.
Time to finalize and pay up using whatever method you prefer. You will have 14 minutes for the transaction, or else your booked seat will be cancelled. Incidentally, there is a no-refund policy in place.
After the transaction, you will be given a QR code. You will need this QR code to print out your ticket at the ticket pick-up kiosks at your chosen cinema.
Unfortunately, WeChat can't do this part for you. Yet. Congratulations, you did it. Remember to keep a mask and your health QR code handy. Stay safe out there, enjoy the movie, and NO SPOILERS.
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