J.J. Abrams, Clint Eastwood, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, many others join in call to Congress
(Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, Calif. – 16 October 2020) Amid intense negotiations on a new pandemic relief package, an open letter to Congressional leaders calling for Federal aid to movie theaters has received 120 signatures from the creative community since it was released September 30.
NATO President & CEO John Fithian said, “The response from filmmakers has been overwhelming and extremely gratifying since the letter first went out. Not only have more filmmakers signed our letter, but they have given interviews to the media and placed calls personally to key Representatives and Administration officials. They have gone above and beyond.”
The letter urges Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy to come together in a bipartisan fashion to prioritize assistance for the hardest-hit industries, like the country’s movie theaters.
Without a solution designed for their circumstances, theaters may not survive the impact of the pandemic. The pandemic has been a devastating financial blow to cinemas. 93% of movie theater companies had over 75% in losses in the second quarter of 2020. If the status quo continues, 69% of small and mid-sized movie theater companies will be forced to file for bankruptcy or to close permanently, and 66% of theater jobs will be lost.
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 job holders. Cinemas are an essential industry that represent the best that American talent and creativity have to offer.
The National Association of Theatre Owners is the largest exhibition trade organization in the world, representing more than 33,000 movie screens in all 50 states, and more than 33,000 additional screens in 97 countries worldwide.
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., with a second office in Los Angeles, California, NATO represents its members in the heart of the nation’s capital as well as the center of the entertainment industry. From these vantage points, NATO helps exhibition influence federal policy-making and work with movie distributors on all areas of mutual concern, from new technologies to legislation, marketing, and First Amendment issues. www.natoonline.org
Vice President & Chief Communications Officer
Director of Government Relations
Motion Picture Association
Directors Guild of America