Warner Bros. and Universal bosses say that they have no plans to purchase struggling movie theaters amid the coronavirus pandemic. Most industries are still reeling after the height of COVID-19 in America. During a Miken Institute Global Conference virtual panel, Universal chairman Donna Langley and Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff said that they had no plans to actually buy the struggling theaters. That takes away one avenue that movie fans have forwarded constantly during the summer. A lot of people believed that these giant content companies would swoop in and save the day, but that was just a flight of fancy at this point.
“We have no plans to do that currently,” Langley said, before Sarnoff joked, “We have no plans either.”
“I’m kind of an armchair sociologist and I believe people want to have communal experiences and especially with certain genres,” Sarnoff continued. “We’re big fans of the exhibitors. They’ve been good partners of ours for many decades. We’re rooting for them. I know it’s tough sledding right now. I’m hoping they come out on the other side, probably even stronger.”
Comicbook.com’s Russ Burlingame actually detailed the last ditch effort by theater chains to get bailed out in case relief can’t be found in any other way.
“The RESTART Act, which is being pushed by NATO as well as other trade groups like the National Restaurant Association, the Live Events Coalition and the American Hotel and Lodging Association, would expand coverage of similar loans to companies with as many as 5,000 employeesm,” he explained. “That bill, written by Senators Michael Bennet of Colorado and Todd Young of Indiana, would allow up to $12 million in loans for companies who have seen their business drop by at least 25%. Variety reports that, if passed, almost all theater chains -- "all but the top three or four" -- would be eligible for relief.”
Burlingame added, “While the Rubio-Collins bill has a known price tag attached, the Bennet-Young bill doesn't, and estimates are that it would cost between $300 and $400 billion to follow through on its promises.”0comments
The National Assoication of Theater Owners would go on to say, "A lost job is a lost job, no matter what size company. If the loan programs are limited only to small businesses, many theater companies that have already been left out of existing programs will have no recourse, and could be forced into bankruptcy or permanent closure.”
What do you think will happen to the theaters? Let us know in the comments!