Filmmakers ask Congress to rescue the theater industry from going bankrupt

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Filmmakers are calling on Congress to help the theater industry, which is struggling immensely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) along with the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and the Motion Picture Association (MPA) joined forces to call on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to get involved with saving the theater industry.

Prominent industry leaders such as Clint Eastwood, James Cameron, Michael Bay, Patty Jenkins, Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, Zack Snyder and Seth Rogen were among the dozens of filmmakers, writers and producers who signed a letter lending their names to the cause. Together, they hope to convince Congress to launch a bipartisan effort to redirect unallocated funds from the CARES Act to help theater owners impacted by shutdowns due to the coronavirus.

“I am extraordinarily grateful for the unprecedented support from our industry partners and the talented and concerned members of the movie industry creative community,” said John Fithian, NATO president and CEO in a press release. “The value of their recognition of the unique importance of movie theaters to our communities, culture, and economy, and their support before Congress of the unique needs of movie theaters in this pandemic cannot be underestimated.”

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Filmmakers are asking Congress to save the theater industry. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The group stated that 93% of movie theater companies had 75% in losses in the second quarter of 2020. They claimed that if the trend continues, 69% of small and mid-sized movie theater companies will have to file for bankruptcy or close permanently, creating a loss of 66% in theater jobs.

“Our country cannot afford to lose the social, economic, and cultural value that theaters provide. The moviegoing experience is central to American life. 268 million people in North America went to the movies last year to laugh, cry, dream, and be moved together,” the letter reads in part. “Theaters are great unifiers where our nation’s most talented storytellers showcase their cinematic accomplishments. Every aspiring filmmaker, actor, and producer dreams of bringing their art to the silver screen, an irreplaceable experience that represents the pinnacle of filmmaking achievement.”

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Clint Eastwood, Christopher Nolan and Martin Scorsese signed a letter calling on Congress to lend financial support to the theater industry. (AP)

Movie theaters are indeed one of the industries hardest hit by the pandemic. Cinemark confirmed to FOX Business on Wednesday that it is evaluating reducing operating hours as well as days in light of the low turnout and lack of new releases.

Following the news that comic book tentpoles “Wonder Woman 1984” and “Black Widow” would be pushed back to Dec. 25, 2020, and May 2021 respectively, theaters find themselves in the uncomfortable position of not having a new release to market around until Nov. 20, when Daniel Craig’s final outing as James Bond in “No Time to Die” is finally expected to drop.

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The recent letter imploring Congress for financial assistance was signed by the following people:

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Wes Anderson
Judd Apatow
Jon Avnet
Sean Baker
Noah Baumbach
Michael Bay
Susanne Bier
Barbara Broccoli
James Cameron
Antonio Campos
Damien Chazelle
Jon M. Chu
Sofia Coppola
Alfonso Cuarón
Lee Daniels
Dean Devlin
Clint Eastwood
Andrew Erwin
Jon Erwin
Paul Feig
Shana Feste
Scott Frank
Cary Joji Fukunaga
Greta Gerwig
Evan Goldberg
Paul Greengrass
Leslie Greif
Luca Guadagnino
Catherine Hardwicke
Alma Har’el
Albert Hughes
Allen Hughes
Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu
Barry Jenkins
Patty Jenkins
Rian Johnson
Miranda July
Nicole Kassell
Jon Landau
Francis Lawrence
Mimi Leder
Ang Lee
Rob Letterman
Shawn Levy
Richard Linklater
James Mangold
Sam Mendes
Adam McKay
Steve McQueen
Ted Melfi
Reed Morano
Christopher Nolan
David O. Russell
Todd Phillips
Guy Ritchie
Seth Rogen
Joachim Rønning
Michael R. Roskam
Martin Scorsese
M. Night Shyamalan
Zack Snyder
Steven Soderbergh
Joey Soloway
David E. Talbert
Betty Thomas
Emma Thomas
Liesl Tommy

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Denis Villeneuve
Taika Waititi
James Wan
Lulu Wang
Chris Weitz
Paul Weitz
Michael G. Wilson
Edgar Wright
Joe Wright
Cathy Yan
David Yates

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