Theater Owners Call For Aid To Movie Theaters In Lame Duck Session Congress


Bipartisan SOS Act and Aid to Workers Urgently Needed

(Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, Calif. – 9 November 2020) The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), Monday called for Congress and the Administration to act now to save local movie theaters devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic by passing relief legislation targeted to their circumstances. The industry cannot wait. 96% of movie theaters have reported over 70% in losses in 2020. Even in places where movie theaters can reopen, low capacity mandates and an anemic film slate means theaters simply cannot draw the necessary audiences to make them operationally viable.

“American movie theaters need help now,” said John Fithian, NATO President & CEO. “Soon, a vaccine will allow our industry to return to normal, but without bipartisan action now in the lame duck session of Congress, hundreds of movie theaters will not make it. Local communities across the nation are and will be permanently damaged. This Congress and Administration still have a job to do.”

Movie theaters are essential cultural community institutions and economic drivers. Cinemas employ over 153,000 individuals nationwide and support and boost millions more jobs in surrounding retail, the cinema supply chain, and motion picture production and distribution.

Without industry-specific assistance, movie theaters simply will not survive the economic impact of the pandemic.

Congress can save cinemas by including $15 billion for grants for independent venues in a COVID-19 relief package. The “Save Our Stages” proposal is the ONLY solution that will provide the bridge that theaters need to see them into next year, when the industry has a chance at recovery.

Theater owners also called for continued aid to furloughed workers.

Theater owners also asked movie lovers everywhere to contact their Senators and Representatives to urge immediate action. A video with theater owners explaining their plight and urging immediate action is here:

A sample letter and automatic contacts for individual members of Congress is available at

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 100 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.


Patrick Corcoran
Vice President & Chief Communications Officer
[email protected]

Esther Baruh
Director of Government Relations
[email protected]

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