Hollywood Sends Letter to Congress Asking for Theatrical Fiscal Relief

A movie theater group, the Motion Picture Association of America, Directors Guild of America and dozens of filmmakers have sent a joint letter to leaders of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives asking for leftover fiscal assistance from the CARES Act be redirected to exhibitors.

In the letter addressed to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), among others, the National Association of Theatre Owners said more than 280 million people went to the movie theater in 2019. With the coronavirus shuttering theaters worldwide in mid-March, NATO said 93% of movie theaters suffered 75% fiscal losses in the second quarter of 2020.

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Exhibitors had hoped that Warner Bros.’ Labor Day theatrical release, Tenet, would bring moviegoers back. And the movie has — internationally. But domestically, the film has sputtered since its $20.2 million opening weekend.

NATO said that if the theater closures continue, 69% of small and mid-sized movie theater companies will be forced to file for bankruptcy or to close permanently, and 66% of theater jobs will be lost.

“Our country cannot afford to lose the social, economic, and cultural value that theaters provide,” read the letter. “Movie theaters are in dire straits,  and we urge you to redirect unallocated funds from the CARES Act to proposals that help businesses that  have suffered the steepest revenue drops due to the pandemic, or to enact new proposals such as the RESTART Act (S. 3814/H.R. 7481).”

The trade group said that absent a fiscal solution, theaters may not survive the impact of the pandemic.

“Please fight for our country’s beloved and essential cinemas by including relief for them in any forthcoming COVID-19 legislation,” read the letter.

Media Play News Fast Forward 2019 Awards Luncheon

Media Play News honored four digital retailers with the publication’s second annual Fast Forward Awards for driving the home entertainment industry forward. This year’s awards included a luncheon and ceremony, held April 4 at the Universal Hilton in Universal City, Calif., and hosted by the Entertainment Merchants Association. Awards went to Cameron Douglas of FandangoNow, Jonathan Zepp of Google Play Movies & TV, and Galen Smith of Redbox, and the team at Apple iTunes. EMA used the event to launch its EMA Leadership Development Foundation, aimed at supporting professional training and development within the home entertainment industry, and particularly within the EMA membership.

38th Annual Variety Hall of Fame

The 38th annual Variety Hall of Fame awards ceremony and dinner took place Dec. 4 at the Montage in Beverly Hills, Calif.

This year’s honorees were Bob Buchi, president, worldwide home media distribution, Paramount Pictures; Susanne Daniels, global head of content for YouTube; animator and director Bob Bird, known for such films as The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Incredibles 2; actress and YouTube creator Issa Rae; and FandangoNOW, honored as an “innovative retailer” and represented by VP of home entertainment Cameron Douglas. In addition, Movies Anywhere was honored with the Deloitte Media & Entertainment Leadership Award.

See our full story on the Variety Hall of Fame here.

The event, established as the Video Hall of Fame back in the early 1980s, came with a shorter name – last year it was called Variety Press Play Home Entertainment & Digital Hall of Fame – but a broader purpose: “Celebrating innovation in multi-platform entertainment.”

‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ Racing Home

To promote the Dec. 4 Blu-ray Disc, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and DVD release of Mission: Impossible — Fallout, the year’s No. 6 movie in terms of domestic box office, Paramount Pictures invited a group of journalists to the BMW Performance Driving School in Thermal, Calif., to race around the track with the film’s stunt coordinator, Wade Eastwood, whom Men’s Journal once called “the man behind [M:I] star Tom Cruise’s most badass stunts.” Afterward came interviews with Eastwood and Jenny Tinmouth, the English motorcycle racer and Isle of Man TT lap record holder who was the stunt double for Rebecca Ferguson.

Read Thomas K. Arnold’s blog about racing with Wade Eastwood.