With Disney recently announcing that both Free Guy and Death on the Nile are off their release slate for the 2020 holiday season, theaters are basically left dead in the water for the remainder of the year. That is, of course, the theaters that remain open that long.
If congress doesn't move to give the industry some kind of bail out, the survival of theaters remains extremely tenuous at best. The National Association of Theatre Owners reported today that over 96% of theaters were reporting over 70% in losses this year as reported by Deadline. It's a considerable number, when you consider that the first of the lockdowns didn't start kicking in, in the US until the end of March. That percentage is even worse when factoring in that cinemas do a large hunk of their business over the holiday months.
NATO President & CEO John Fithian said in a statement today, “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.”
A joint statement from NATO went on to note “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.”
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