Movie theater chains are breathing a bit easier now that they know there will likely be help coming. Disney and Comcast both were able to get some help with debt offerings, but theaters were completely shut down with no incoming revenue.
AMC had just recently laid off more workers and are now at 1.5% of their original workforce and Regal has about 1,000 employees left working, down from 25,000. The movie industry is also a huge part of the revenue for companies like Disney and Comcast. Sure they can put titles out early or direct to streaming, but the box office gains and bragging right would be lost.
The National Association of Theater Owners (NATO,) has already been condemning Universal for releasing titles straight to “on demand” and bypassing the theaters. Even stating that “theater owners will not forget this.” It all might come back to bite certain studios now that the theaters are getting help.
With this new stimulus package theaters can receive assistance
The new package includes a “guarantee fund that will give movie theaters and other businesses access to capital to pay fixed costs, expanded Small Business Administration programs to do the same with many categories of expenses eligible for loan forgiveness, and up to four months of direct aid to workers through extended and expanded unemployment insurance.”
Theater chains have been reaching out to Washington for help and according to Deadline it won’t just be the big chains that get help:
“Sources tell me that small mom-and-pop theaters should not be receiving the short end of the stick here in favor of big exhibition. There are different tiers of distressed industries in the relief package: one that will take care of the big-boy circuits, and another that’s more in favor of the little guys, i.e. “Expanded SBA programs that will allow small businesses – the vast majority of theater companies – to do the same, with several categories of expenses eligible for loan forgiveness.”
The theaters were asking for loans and that is what they seem to be getting.
National Association of Theater Owners said:
“We applaud the bipartisan agreement reached in the Senate today to provide relief to movie theaters their employees and so many other public-facing industries that have had to close their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement read. “With this agreement, movie theaters can look forward with confidence to re-opening and once again serving their communities when this crisis has passed.
With this aid, movie theaters can get through this crisis confident in being able to re-open, knowing their vital, trained workforce is able to weather this pandemic and have jobs waiting for them when it is safe to reopen,” the statement continued. “We are grateful for the work of Congress and the Administration and those, in and out of the entertainment industry who have supported our efforts on behalf of this industry that is so central to our culture and civic life. We look forward to its quick passage in the House and signature by the President.”
In the long run keeping the theaters going should benefit Disney and help it, and other studios, get back on their feet when this is all over.
What do you think? Comment and let us know.