As reported by Deadline, a bunch of big-name filmmakers have teamed up with the Directors Guild Of America, The National Association Of Theatre Owners, and The Motion Picture Association to sign a joint letter asking the U.S. Congress to redirect unused money from the CARES Act—the COVID relief fund passed back in March that was originally designed to help small businesses cover costs during the major shutdown earlier this summer. Most of those benefits have since expired, and while the House and the Senate argue about how (or if) to keep them going, these movie people have decided to step up and express how important movie theaters are to the American economy and culture.
The signers (skimming through the list alphabetically) include Wes Anderson, Judd Apatow, Noah Baumbach, Michael Bay, Barbara Broccoli, James Cameron, Sofia Coppola, Alfonso Cuarón, Lee Daniels, Clint Eastwood, Paul Feig, Greta Gerwig, Barry Jenkins, Patty Jenkins, Rian Johnson, Adam McKay, Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, Zack Snyder, Denis Villeneuve, Taika Waititi, James Wan, Edgar Wright, Cathy Yan, and David Yates (among others). The letter, addressed to Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Kevin McCarthy, suggests that going to the movies is “central to American life” and that movies are “great unifiers where our nation’s most talented storytellers showcase their cinematic accomplishments.” Theaters themselves are also “economic force multipliers,” offer 150,000 jobs across the industry, help the retail environments nearby where theaters are located (gotta buy the candy you sneak in somewhere, after all), and naturally have a major impact on the filmmaking industry itself.
The letter also goes on to say that 93 percent of theater companies had losses of more than 75 percent in the second quarter of 2020 (so, during the pandemic), and if things don’t get better, 69 percent of “small and mid-sized” theater companies will have to file for bankruptcy and 66 percent of theater jobs “will be lost.” In other words, Tenet’s slow box office burn probably isn’t going to cut it for very long. You can read the full letter over at Deadline.