Influential filmmakers have warned that US movie theatres are facing extinction without additional pandemic relief from the government.
Martin Scorsese, Wes Anderson, Sofia Coppola, Christopher Nolan and Jordan Peele were among the notable signees on a letter urging Congress to provide further assistance to theatre owners affected by the pandemic.
As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, dozens of influential filmmakers joined the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) and the Directors Guild of American and the Motion Picture Association on Wednesday (30 September) in penning a letter to Congress.
In the letter – addressed to Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarth – the groups request that Capitol Hill lawmakers redirect unallocated funds from the CARES Act (The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act) or authorise new assistance programmes for those businesses that have suffered the most financially as a result of the pandemic.
The letter states: “Our country cannot afford to lose the social, economic, and cultural value that theaters provide. The moviegoing experience is central to American life.”
It also notes that theatres “supports millions of jobs in movie production and distribution, and countless others in surrounding restaurants and retailers that rely on theatres for foot traffic” and that “movie theatres are also leaders in employing underrepresented groups, including people with disabilities, senior citizens, and first-time job holders”.
A huge 93 per cent of US theatre companies suffered losses of 75 per cent in the second quarter of this year – from April to June – after moviegoing came to an abrupt stop in mid-March.
Although more than half of theatres are now open, with Hollywood continuing to delay the release of its major blockbusters, cinemas are still largely empty.
NATO has stated that if this downward trend continues, 69 per cent of small and mid-sized movie theatres will be forced to either close permanently or file for bankruptcy. As a result, a predicted 66 per cent of theatre jobs will be lost.
Other notable filmmakers who signed the letter include Clint Eastwood, Seth Rogen, Steven Soderbergh, Miranda July, Shawn Levy, Lulu Wang and Succession’s Adam McKay,