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Movie theaters 'may not survive' coronavirus, say Clint Eastwood and other filmmakers

"We fear for their future," movie industry groups say in open letter to Congress.

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Movie theaters across the US have had to close due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images
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Movie theaters have had a tough year amid the coronavirus pandemic, and the future isn't offering any immediate Hollywood happy endings. An open letter from three major film industry groups, and signed by notables such as Clint Eastwood, Wes Anderson, Jordan Peele, and Sofia Coppola, asks US politicians to help out -- and warns of a disastrous future if no help arrives.

"Cinemas are an essential industry that represent the best that American talent and creativity have to offer," the letter, cited in the LA Times on Wednesday, says in part. "But now we fear for their future."

The letter comes from representatives from the National Association of Theatre Owners, the Directors Guild of America, and the Motion Picture Association. In addition to Eastwood, Anderson, Peele and Coppola, it's also signed by Judd Apatow, Greta Gerwig, Miranda July, Steve McQueen, Christopher Nolan and Seth Rogen.

It's addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader Charles Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy.

The letter has solutions in mind, calling on the politicians to use unspent funds from the CARES stimulus package for programs that would help theaters. It also asks for additional financial measures, such as extending the Paycheck Protection Program.

"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 goes on to say.

The letter was sent before Monday's announcement that Regal Cinemas will temporarily close 536 Regal cinemas in the US and 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse venues in the UK on Thursday, affecting 45,000 employees.