China’s box office is booming and may be the biggest in the world soon, but all this time we’ve been assuming it was humans who were packing out the seats. Yet a theater in Hangzhou recently opened its doors to a very different category of customers — dogs — for a special screening of the tearjerker A Dog’s Journey, and over 100 canines showed up for the motion picture with their owners.
While just a one-day thing, this isn’t the first time a cinema in China has arranged for owners and their dogs to spend time together in front of the big screen. A theater in Nanjing let viewers bring their pets for free a couple years ago when A Dog’s Purpose, the forerunner to A Dog’s Journey, came out.
Of course, as heartwarming as the events might seem, many wonder how much bonding can really happen through the shared experience, or whether it’s okay to make dogs do something they’re really not wired to enjoy.
One commenter on Weibo pointed out that “A lot of dogs are easily scared, the sound in movie theaters can be very loud and with so many people and dogs there, they’d be uneasy… I’d rather take my dog to play in the park.”
Most people seem all for it though, especially because activities like this might affect how people treat their pets. In a poll taken over Weibo asking what people thought of taking dogs to the movies, over 60% answered “It’s okay, it can promote taking good care of dogs”.
The Hangzhou theater was prepared for anything, and even had tools on hand to clean up any messes the dogs might make over the course of the hour and 48 minute long movie. Impressively, “no pee or poo showed up anywhere in the theater”, according to one of the employees. Whew, maybe they did enjoy the movie, if holding it is the standard.
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