FILE – In this May 11, 2005, file photo, people enter AMC’s Studio 30 theater in Olathe, Kan. AMC Theatres, the world’s largest movie theater chain, has unveiled a $20-a-month subscription service to rival the flagging MoviePass. The theater chain on Wednesday announced a new service to its loyalty program, AMC Stubs, allowing subscribers to see up to three movies a week for a monthly fee of $19.95. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner, File)
Been to the movies lately? Have any plans coming up?
The National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) — a trade group representing 33,000 screens nationwide — has asked the White House to bail ’em out due to the coronavirus quarantine.
According to NATO, the industry is “uniquely vulnerable.”
As reported by The New York Times, the organization’s pointed to the Trump administration’s move toward a bailout for airlines as precedent:
Here’s NATO CEO John Fithian:
“The Trump administration is considering loan guarantees and other benefits for the airline industry, which is composed of huge corporations and salaried workers. We would ask that they also consider the movie theater industry, an important part of the cultural fabric for our country, and our 150,000 employees who are hourly workers.”
The group wants tax breaks so theaters can keep paying their employees even as they’re closed.
As per a press release, it’s also asking for loan guarantees and aid with continuing costs, as well as added tax measuers.
All of the above will assist in a reopening on the other side of America’s lockdown.
And when the heck will that be?
In a statement Tuesday, NATO observed that tomorrow’s a mystery. But other than that “please give us money” thing, optimism abounds:
“No one can precisely predict when public life will return to normal, but it will return. The social nature of human beings – the thing that exposes us to contagion, and that makes it so difficult to change behavior in response to pandemic threats – is also the thing that gives us confidence in the future. People will return to movie theaters because that is who people are. When they return they will rediscover a cutting edge, immersive entertainment experience that they have been forcefully reminded they cannot replicate at home. In the uncertain, difficult economy ahead, movie theaters will fill the role they always have in boom times and in recessions – the most popular, affordable entertainment available outside the home.”
The truth is, the cineplex scene was already taking a bit of pummeling: As indicated by Deadline, 2019 saw record-low ticket sales.
That may not surprise you, as you sit in front of your 65-inch TV (but please tell me it isn’t mounted above your fireplace).
And what about movie releases?
The Hollywood Reporter notes that studios have begun delaying major flicks ’til Wuhan goes the way of the dodo bird.
The James Bond biggie — No Time to Die — for example, has been pushed back ’til November.
And some are just gonna go straight to your 65-inch: Given the state of things, NBCUniversal’s decided to release its film Trolls World Tour for home viewing.
So how ’bout you — will you be in a theater sometime soon? And how long do you think movie-going will take a hit from COVID-19?
Let us all know in the Comments section.
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