The National Association of Theater Owners is calling on Congress for immediate relief. For the most part, movie theaters across North America have been shut down since the middle of March. Theaters in Los Angeles and New York City never really came close to opening their doors as the public health crisis continues to rage on with daily case spikes hitting record levels on nearly a daily basis. Without any help from Congress, major movie theater chains could become a thing of the past.
NATO President and CEO John Fithian has turned to Save Our Stages for a collaboration. The movement is a bipartisan effort that is trying to get billions of dollars of grants to concert venues and theaters that are no-longer allowed to host live music or theater performances. Fithian says that the need for relief needs to come fast. He explains.
"American movie theaters need help now. 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."
Some of the most iconic concert theaters in the world might not be able to ever open their doors again, and the same thing can be said for movie theaters. John Fithian says, "Congress can save cinemas by including $15 billion for grants for independent venues in a COVID-19 relief package." He continued by noting, "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." As of now, there is no plan for Congress to provide the aid needed to keep theaters like AMC and Cinemark open.
The news comes after it was announced that Disney was pulling its final two movies from their December release dates. Free Guy and Death on the Nile were supposed to open next month, but they have been delayed indefinitely, and it's looking like the same thing will happen with Wonder Woman 1984, which is still on schedule to open on Christmas Day. Warner Bros. did not have the success they were hoping for with Christopher Nolan's Tenet, and things seem to be going in a worse direction when compared to the summer and early fall.
Nearly all of the big movies that were supposed to come out in 2020 have been delayed until 2021, which includes Black Widow, Eternals, Dune, No Time to Die, A Quiet Place 2, and numerous other movies. With the recent Presidential Election, it's unclear if anybody in Congress will be doing the leg work to get the Save Our Stages bill in front of more people. Whatever the case may be, 2021 is already starting to look pretty bleak. Variety was the first to report on NATO's call to Congress.