James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood & More Ask Congress to Help U.S. Movie Theaters

Judd Apatow, Greta Gerwig, Jordan Peele and Ang Lee were among some of the other famous directors who called upon the government to lend a hand to the hard-hit film industry

AMC movie theater
AMC movie theater. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Many famous directors — including James Cameron, Martin Scorsese and Clint Eastwood — are calling on Congress to aid movie theaters in the United States amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, saying they fear for the future of the filmmaking industry.

In a letter to Washington leaders, the three Oscar-winning directors were joined by dozens of other famous filmmakers — including Judd Apatow, Greta Gerwig, Christopher Nolan, Jordan Peele, Wes Anderson and Ang Lee — in a plea to seek help.

Saying that the current health crisis has dealt a horrific shock to cinemas, the group says that without funds "theaters may not survive the impact of the pandemic," per the Los Angeles Times.

The letter was signed by more than 70 directors and producers along with the National Association of Theater Owners, the Directors Guild of America and the Motion Picture Association, Reuters adds.

James Cameron; Martin Scorsese; Clint Eastwood
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic; Charley Gallay/Getty Images; Steve Granitz/WireImage

Elsewhere in the letter, the industry leaders say, "Cinemas are an essential industry that represent the best that American talent and creativity have to offer. But now we fear for their future."

According to Reuters, the letter adds that 69% of small and mid-sized movie theater companies will be forced to file for bankruptcy or close permanently unless they receive aid from the federal government.

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Per the LA Times, and according to the industry groups, 93% of exhibitors saw their revenue plummet 75% or more in the second quarter compared to the previous year's revenue.

The letter also shares that the theater industry employs 150,000 people and about two-thirds of those jobs could disappear if the health crisis continues on and help is not given. "Our country cannot afford to lose the social, economic, and cultural value that theaters provide," the letter reads.

Earlier this year, during the beginning of the pandemic, movie theaters across the country were forced to close their doors in an effort to help stop the spread of the respiratory illness.

Big chains, including AMC Entertainment and Regal Cinemas, have since reopened in many areas, though they now enforce new guidelines regarding social distancing and operate with reduced capacity.

But efforts to get people back into theaters to watch movies have not been going well, and Hollywood studios have continued to push back the releases of some of its biggest films as a result.

Empty movie theater

Disney's Black Widow, which had a May 1 release date earlier this year, has since been pushed back to May 7, 2021. It was previously first delayed with a new date of Nov. 6.

Similarly, Steven Spielberg's West Side Story, which originally planned to open on Dec. 18, will also wait a year, with the new release date set for Dec. 10, 2021.

Marvel's Eternals, originally set for Nov. 6 before moving to Feb. 2, 2021, will also move to a year later, now opening Nov. 5, 2021. Wonder Woman 1984 has also been pushed back from its expected Oct. 2 release date to Christmas Day.

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