With the outbreak of COVID-19 we are truly living in strange, uncertain, and ever frightening times as the country is effectively shut down with no immediate sign of starting back up. Businesses across the country are feeling the brunt of this, with some possibly unable to survive. One type of businesses in particular may be your local movie theater. On the Critix Talk Podcast: Quarantine and Chill Part 1. Critix touched on how this quarantine may set a new precedent for movie goers moving forward and may forever change the way film is distributed and consumed by the masses, with many people opting to stay home to catch the latest blockbuster. With AMC theaters on the verge of filing for bankruptcy as their stock continues to plummet as a result of the nationwide quarantine, suddenly there may not be a choice. This would be very good for the streaming giants but for the theaters, and theater goers this would be an utter tragedy. It’s for this exact reason that director Christopher Nolan is calling for his friends in the industry and people everywhere to support the movie theater business in an effort to keep the theater experience alive. In his recent op-ed in The Washington Post, Nolan shared his thoughts on the crises facing the movie theater industry.
“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.
“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.”
“The past few weeks have been a reminder, if we needed one, that there are parts of life that are far more important than going to the movies. But, when you consider what theaters provide, maybe not so many as you might think,” he writes in the op-ed. “Movie theaters have gone dark, and will stay that way for a time. But movies, unlike unsold produce or unearned interest, don’t cease to be of value. Much of this short-term loss is recoverable. When this crisis passes, the need for collective human engagement, the need to live and love and laugh and cry together, will be more powerful than ever. The combination of that pent-up demand and the promise of new movies could boost local economies and contribute billions to our national economy. We don’t just owe it to the 150,000 workers of this great American industry to include them in those we help, we owe it to ourselves. We need what movies can offer us.”
We couldn't agree more.