Joe & Anthony Russo, Zack Snyder, and More Sign Letter Asking Congress to Bail Out Movie Theaters

Countless businesses and industries have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, as some businesses had to shut down completely for months and have only recently begun to slowly reopen their doors, with some businesses still closed entirely in the interests of public safety, with movie theaters being one of the industries hit the hardest. Various reports have emerged about independent movie theaters having to shut their doors due to the setbacks, with even some of the biggest chains in the country also facing major financial hardships, with filmmakers like Joe and Anthony Russo, Zack Snyder, J.J. Abrams, Taika Waititi, Catherine Hardwicke, and more signing a letter in hopes of getting the government to bail out movie theaters facing financial hardships.

"The moviegoing experience is central to American life," the letter reads, per Deadline. "268 million people in North America went to the movies last year to laugh, cry, dream, and be moved together. 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."

It continues, "As well as their critical cultural impact, theaters are economic force multipliers. In addition to the 150,000 employees working in cinemas nationwide, the industry supports millions of jobs in movie production and distribution, and countless others in surrounding restaurants and retailers that rely on theaters for foot traffic. Movie theaters are also leaders in employing underrepresented groups, including people with disabilities, senior citizens, and first-time jobholders. Cinemas are an essential industry that represent the best that American talent and creativity have to offer. But now we fear for their future."

Theaters in the United States shut their doors this past March, which not only impacted the theaters themselves, but also movie studios who had to delay their releases for months, with some movies being pushed back by more than a year. Last month, theaters began to open their doors, with Christopher Nolan's Tenet being one of the only major releases to debut on screens, but with the exhibition industry still working on the best way to deliver the theatrical experience and with audiences still largely apprehensive about gathering in buildings without windows, attendance is only slightly better than when theaters were entirely shut down. Drive-in theaters, on the other hand, have been popular destinations throughout the pandemic, some of which saw major releases hitting their screens, while some states have yet to lift restrictions on traditional movie theaters.

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Other filmmakers who signed the letter include Wes Anderson, Michael Bay, Brad Bird, James Cameron, Cary Fukunaga, Greta Gerwig, Ron Howard, Patty Jenkins, Rian Johnson, George Lucas, Melissa McCarthy, Reed Morano, Christopher Nolan, Jordan Peele, Ridley Scott, Martin Scorsese, M. Night Shyamalan, Steven Spielberg, James Wan, and Cathy Yan.

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