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Scorsese, Eastwood say U.S. movie theaters may not survive pandemic

Thu, 1st Oct 2020 01:50

LOS ANGELES, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Oscar-winning film
directors James Cameron, Clint Eastwood and Martin Scorsese
joined forces with movie theater owners on Wednesday in an
appeal for financial help, saying they feared for the future of
the industry.

In a letter to the leaders of the U.S. Senate and House of
Representatives, they said the coronavirus pandemic had dealt a
devastating blow to movie theaters and that without funds
"theaters may not survive the impact of the pandemic."

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.

The pandemic forced movie theaters to close their doors in
mid-March. Big chains including AMC Entertainment and
Cineworld Plc's Regal Cinemas have reopened, with
reduced capacity, in many U.S. cities, but not in the biggest
markets of Los Angeles and New York City.

Efforts to get Americans back into theaters have proved
disappointing, and Hollywood studios have delayed the release of
big movies like "Black Widow" and "Top Gun: Maverick" to 2021.

The letter said that 69% of small and mid-sized movie
theater companies will be forced to file for bankruptcy or close
permanently unless help is forthcoming.

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

Others signing the letter included James Bond movie
producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, "Wonder Woman"
director Patty Jenkins, and action movie director-producer
Michael Bay.

They asked Congress to redirect unspent funds from the
coronavirus aid package passed earlier this year, or enact new
proposals that would help movie theaters weather the pandemic.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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