Christopher Nolan and Steve McQueen Part of UK Petition to Save Movie Theaters

The petition says theaters are "standing on the edge of an abyss."
Christopher Nolan
Christopher Nolan
Melissa Moseley/©Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection

With the on-going global pandemic continuing to wreak havoc on nearly every facet of daily life, Hollywood’s top directors are hoping to get some help for movie theaters. With theaters suffering around the world, many closed for going on a year, it’s hoped that the names behind the biggest blockbusters can add some influence and gain them support.

More than 40 directors and Hollywood personalities, including Christopher Nolan, Steve McQueen, and Ridley Scott have signed their names to a petition calling for the UK Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to provide funding for struggling movie theaters. “We recognise the support that government has already been able to provide,” the group says. “But we fear that this will not be enough, with the challenges being most acute for those larger cinema operators who have not been able to access any tailored funding.”

The petition says theaters are “standing on the edge of an abyss” and need “targeted funding [and] support to ensure that future generations can enjoy the magic of cinema.” The letter goes on to say that, because of how much investment production companies and studio provide, a loss of theater could have long-standing consequences. “These companies represent over 80 per cent of the market, in many ways constituting its ‘critical mass’ and helping to drive the success of associated sectors such as film distribution and production coalesce. Without them, the future of the entire UK film industry would look extremely precarious.”

While the UK has supported theaters throughout the pandemic in some form, the letter makes a point of saying this support has been limited to independent theaters or those with a single screen. This is just one element of a global phenomenon. Much remains unknown about how movie theaters will make out, especially the longer the pandemic goes on. It’s hoped that the upcoming election and plans for an additional economic stimulus package could benefit movie theaters, especially in the United States.

But with streaming services coming out stronger than ever this year, enhanced by Warner Bros. decision to release all their movies day-and-date in theaters and on HBO Max, a move which Nolan himself has been critical of, the question remains of whether the damage has already been done?

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