Letter to Senate and House Leadership highlights the vital importance of movie theaters to the economic and cultural health of the country
(Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, Calif. – 30 September 2020) The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) along with the Directors Guild of America (DGA), the Motion Picture Association (MPA), and more than 70 directors, producers, and writers today called on Congress to come to the aid of movie theaters across the country affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“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. “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.”
The letter (attached) 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 redirect unallocated funds from the CARES Act to proposals that help businesses that have suffered the steepest revenue drops due to the pandemic, or to enact new proposals such as the RESTART Act (S. 3814/H.R. 7481).
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