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|March 31, 2020|
Movie theaters pushed to the brink
HOLLYWOOD - It could be lights out for the movie theater business if Congress doesn’t pass the trillion-dollar coronavirus rescue bill. That’s the stark message from John Fithian, president and CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO).
“The situation is that dire,” Fithian told Variety, taking a break from working the phones in Washington D.C., where he’s been busy pressing his case to lawmakers.
“Overnight, we went from an industry that makes $15 billion a year — $11 billion in ticket sales and $4 billion in concessions — to one that is not going to make a penny for three or four months,” he added.
Fithian, who leads the exhibition industry’s main lobbying arm, hopes that the final legislation will include provisions for federal loan guarantees, as well as expanded unemployment benefits and cash payments to the 150,000 cinema workers who have been furloughed.
The NATO chief said theaters are struggling to remain solvent without any income. Even though workers have been let go, these theaters still have to pay rent and utilities and they may face bankruptcy without government aid.
Story Date: March 29, 2020