Filmmaker Christopher Nolan has penned a Washington Post op/ed calling on the United States government to act to protect movie theaters from financial ruin the wake of mass closings due to Coronavirus, most of which have shuttered indefinitely thanks to social distancing regulations aimed to prevent the spread of the contagion.
"In this time of unprecedented challenge and uncertainty, it’s vital to acknowledge the prompt and responsible decisions made by all kinds of companies across our country that have closed their doors in full knowledge of the damage they are doing to their businesses," reads Nolan's op/ed. "Our nation’s incredible network of movie theaters is one of these industries, and as Congress considers applications for assistance from all sorts of affected businesses, I hope that people are seeing our exhibition community for what it really is: a vital part of social life, providing jobs for many and entertainment for all. These are places of joyful mingling where workers serve up stories and treats to the crowds that come to enjoy an evening out with friends and family. As a filmmaker, my work can never be complete without those workers and the audiences they welcome."
Nolan goes on to call specifically for aid for those who work in movie theaters, stating they are a vital part of the industry that must be protected.
"When people think about movies, their minds first go to the stars, the studios, the glamour. But the movie business is about everybody: the people working the concession stands, running the equipment, taking tickets, booking movies, selling advertising and cleaning bathrooms in local theaters. Regular people, many paid hourly wages rather than a salary, earn a living running the most affordable and democratic of our community gathering places." he writes.
"Hardest hit right now are workers from businesses such as movies theaters, whose entire appeal is based on humanity’s greatest instinct — and the one now turned against us, which makes this situation so damned hard: the desire to be together. Maybe, like me, you thought you were going to the movies for surround sound, or Goobers, or soda and popcorn, or movie stars. But we weren’t. We were there for each other."
You can read Nolan's statement in full here.
The closing of theaters and other gathering places has been a standard global tactic for stemming the spread of Coronavirus. Australia announced this week it will close its theaters among other businesses, while China's movie theaters have begun to reopen.