Oscar-winning directors Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, and James Cameron have joined forces with movie theater owners in an effort to save establishments that have been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. On Wednesday, they made an appeal for financial help citing fears that the industry can’t survive on its own.
What It Means
A letter sent to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives claimed that movie theaters were suffering a devastating blow due to the pandemic and stated that without financial assistance “[cinemas] may not survive the impact of the pandemic.”
Many signed the letter including more than 70 directors and producers, the Director’s Guild of America, the National Association of Theater Owners, and the Motion Picture Association.
Due to the pandemic, U.S. cinemas were closed in mid-March. In many U.S. cities, some of the big chains including Cineworld’s Regal Cinemas and AMC Entertainment opened at a reduced capacity. However, they have not been able to open in their largest markets in New York City or Los Angeles.
Without assistance, the letter claims that 69% of all mid-sized and small theaters will be forced to permanently close or file for bankruptcy.
The letter went on, “Cinemas are an essential industry that represent the best that American talent and creativity have to offer, but now we fear for their future.”
Many other signatures on the letter included James Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, and action movie director-producer Michael Bay.
The letter also requested that Congress consider using unspent coronavirus aid funds by redirecting them to the film industry or to start the process of new proposals that would help cinemas keep their doors open after the pandemic has ended.
What to Expect
Many speculate that if movie theaters do survive the pandemic, they may not look the same as they did for years to come. Since so many Americans enjoy going to the movies, it is no wonder that the industry is trying to save them.
For smaller theaters, who rely heavily on support from their regular customers, it may be necessary for them to consider a new business approach if they are to survive. Many of these small theaters have begun opening with older films and cult classics at half capacity as a way for people to get out of the house while enjoying a COVID-safe activity.
Over the summer while some began to panic, many theater owners remained optimistic that they could be in full operation by the holiday season. As the pandemic has worsened this fall and continues to linger, these optimistic pursuits seem to be a thing of the past.
There are speculations as to how theaters will continue to earn revenue. Many believe that they will adapt a subscription style service similar to the model AMC theaters had prior to the pandemic. This service was priced at $20 per month and allowed subscribers to see up to 3 movies per week at no additional cost.