More than 80 of Hollywood’s top directors, screenwriters, and producers signed a letter this week asking Congress to help struggling movie theater owners during the COVID-19 health crisis. They warn that without monetary government assistance, theaters across the country are in danger of shutting down permanently.
Latino directors including Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity), Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu (The Revenant), Antonio Campos (The Devil All the Time), Chris Weitz (A Better Life) and Paul Weitz (American Pie) added their names to the letter. The filmmakers were joined by the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and the Motion Picture Association (MPA).
Other big names that signed onto the letter include Pedro Almodóvar (Talk to Her), James Cameron (Avatar), Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), Greta Gerwig (Little Women), among others.
“Cinemas are an essential industry that represent the best that American talent and creativity have to offer,” the letter reads. “But now we fear for their future. Our country cannot afford to lose the social, economic, and cultural value that theaters provide. The moviegoing experience is central to American life. Theaters are great unifiers where our nation’s most talented storytellers showcase their cinematic accomplishments.”
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the letter was sent to Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.
“[Movie theaters] support millions of jobs in movie production and distribution, and countless others in surrounding restaurants and retailers that rely on theaters for foot traffic,” the letter reads. “Movie theaters are also leaders in employing underrepresented groups, including people with disabilities, senior citizens, and first-time job holders.”
Earlier this year, NATO, which represents more than 35,000 movie screens in all 50 states, started a #SaveYourCinema campaign to offer more relief to cinemas nationwide.