Theater Owners Call for Aid to Movie Theaters in Lame Duck Session of Congress

Image courtesy of NATO


The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) Monday called for Congress and the Administration to act now to save local movie theaters devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic by passing relief legislation targeted to their circumstances. The industry cannot wait. 96 percent of movie theaters have reported over 70 percent in losses in 2020. Even in places where movie theaters can reopen, low capacity mandates and an anemic film slate means theaters simply cannot draw the necessary audiences to make them operationally viable.

“American movie theaters need help now,” said John Fithian, NATO president and CEO. “Soon, a vaccine will allow our industry to return to normal, but without bipartisan action now in the lame duck session of Congress, hundreds of movie theaters will not make it. Local communities across the nation are and will be permanently damaged. This Congress and Administration still have a job to do.”

Movie theaters are essential cultural community institutions and economic drivers. Cinemas employ over 153,000 individuals nationwide and support and boost millions more jobs in surrounding retail, the cinema supply chain, and motion picture production and distribution.

Without industry-specific assistance, movie theaters simply will not survive the economic impact of the pandemic.

Congress can save cinemas by including $15 billion for grants for independent venues in a Covid-19 relief package. The “Save Our Stages” proposal is the only solution that will provide the bridge that theaters need to see them into next year, when the industry has a chance at recovery.

Theater owners also called for continued aid to furloughed workers.

Theater owners also asked movie lovers everywhere to contact their Senators and Representatives to urge immediate action. A video with theater owners explaining their plight and urging immediate action is here:

A sample letter and automatic contacts for individual members of Congress is available at


Image courtesy of NATO
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