James Cameron, Martin Scorsese and More Directors Ask Congress to Help Movie Theaters

James Cameron, Martin Scorsese and many more film directors have signed a letter asking Congress to help movie theaters, as they have been significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Los Angeles Times, the filmmakers joined a number of other industry leaders in pleading with lawmakers to provide funding for theaters, who have had to close, and seen a slow attendance once reopening. "Absent a solution designed for their circumstances, theaters may not survive the impact of the pandemic," the letter reads.

"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 groups added. In addition to Cameron and Scorsese, directors such as Judd Apatow, Greta Gerwig, Christopher Nolan, Jordan Peele, Wes Anderson, Clint Eastwood and Ang Lee also signed their names. The letter was co-authored by The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) and The Motion Picture Association, along with the Directors Guild of America. "These solutions would fulfill Congress’ intent in helping severely distressed sectors of the economy and ensure that our resources are focused on the industries that need them the most," The letter also read.

Theaters were required to close back in March, when the spread of COVID-19 first spiked in the United States. After a few months, some chains began to announce they were coming back, with Regal Cinemas making a statement in June on its return. "We are thrilled to be back and encouraged by recent surveys that show that many people have missed going to the movie theater," CEO Mooky Greidinger said in a statement, according to CNN.

"Amidst the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, Cineworld's main priority remains the health and well-being of both our customers and colleagues," the statement added. The company also stated that its scheduled opening dates were "subject to final clarifications and confirmation in relation to various government Covid-19 restrictions in certain territories."

Notably, Cinemark theaters CFO and COO Sean Gamble revealed back in April that early July was the target date for theaters to reopen to the public. However, he went on to explain that reopenings would be "state by state, county by county" depending on "demand." He also suggested that it could mean different operating hours at first, as well. "We won't be everything back day 1, but dip our toe approach," Gamble said. At this time, most theaters chains have resumed operations.