Movie Theatre Owner Chief Pleads For Government Bailout -- "The Situation Is Dire"

Most US theatres will go bankrupt if the government doesn't come through with help, National Association of Theatre Owners chief says.

16 Comments

One of the many industries hit hard by the new lockdown procedures in the United States is the film business. Specifically, movie theatres have been drastically impacted, as thousands of screens have closed due to the COVID-19 crisis.

John Fithian, the CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners in the US, has now spoken about the dire situation. He told Variety that the movie theatre business might collapse and go bankrupt if US Congress does not pass the trillion-dollar bailout bill that would provide relief to various industries, including theatres.

"The situation is that dire," Fithian explained. "Overnight, we went from an industry that makes $15 billion a year--$11 billion in ticket sales and $4 billion in concessions--to one that is not going to make a penny for three or four months."

The US movie theatre business is massive, employing some 150,000 movie theatre workers who have now been furloughed. Movie theatres must still pay rent and utilities during this crisis. Without any federal bailout, movie theatre chains could go bankrupt, Fithian said.

The executive added that he hopes the government rescue bail gets passed because banks won't give credit lines to movie theatres because of the uncertainty surrounding when the crisis may end.

"Most of these theaters, not all of them, but most of them, will go bankrupt if this does not pass," Fithian said. "If this goes through, it will provide a whole lot of help to industries that need it like restaurants and bars and bowling alleys and retailers."

With movie theatres closed, some studios are electing to release their new movies on digital and streaming services day-and-date with their previously scheduled theatre dates. Other studios have brought forward the video-on-demand releases of films, as has been the case with Birds of Prey and Sonic the Hedgehog.

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ghost140

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Edited By ghost140

1. Its a loan

2. Money from the tax payers cannot be used for stock buybacks.

3. All CEO's and executives take a 25%-50% pay cut

4. No CEO and executives bonus can be paid out as long as the loan is outstanding.

These 4 rules should be in place for all corporate "bail-outs"

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thewindburner

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Edited By thewindburner

"The Picturehouse cinema chain has been accused by its former employees of “irresponsible” treatment after staff were made redundant with immediate effect following the widespread shutdown of cinemas in response to the coronavirus pandemic."

Sacking staff who have worked there longer than 18 months as anyone with less doesn't get sick pay

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2020/mar/20/outrage-picturehouse-cinema-staff-redundant-coronavirus-immediate-effect

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dragoonmike

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if anyone should be getting a bail out it should be 9 to 5 joe working man that gets it not multi billion dollar companies.

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deth420

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@dragoonmike: Its simple trickle down economics.

They get billions in bailout monies. then they will give you a $2 off coupon.

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Rufus_the_rat

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I can imagine live theater stage shows and plays pleaded for help when movie theaters first showed up in the 1900s, but the movie theater owners and Hollywood probably had no mercy for them. "Get with the times or go extinct" they would have said.

Well, the times have changed and Hollywood hasn't made a movie worth getting up to go and see in years. It's now their turn to go the way of radio and TV.

We can't afford to bail out every business in the world simultaneously. It's hilarious and sad that they're all sticking their hands out at once like poverty cases, when we have real poverty in society.

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Barighm

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Meanwhile, all the drive in theaters around here have opened out of season and are bustling.

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deth420

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@Barighm:

Unfortunately, all the drive in theaters where i live have closed. so they could cram as many apartments onto them as possible

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Lamesy

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I'm not sure this means there is a specific bailout for movie theaters, as is suggested. When pressed on specifics he talks about getting loans from banks -- which may mean the bill simply frees up liquidity in general for banks to make easier business loans.

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sippio

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KARMA IS A B%@%&!!!

For reasons Non-Scorer mentioned...

~Also,,How disgusting that to see a new Movie you have to goto a overpriced theater..

This monopoly needs to end...

*Movie Theaters aren't something vital to any of us..

Maybe if a theater would have say "Back to the Future1+2" on this day,,

And maybe StarWars Prequels on this day etc...

But under the current format= DIE ALREADY!

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Non-Scorer

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When movie theater popcorn is $7.50 for a tiny amount and the cost of the popcorn is .35 cents -- and when a soda is $3-$4, but only cost .20 cents, there is enough profit margin to pay your own bills. I know a lot of cost goes to rent and I believe theaters have to pay for the rights to display movies, but they don't pay good wages, they have massively overpriced consessions, so if you can't make a profit with such huge profit margins, you need to renegotiate the business model. Hollywood will need to jump in and lower costs to theaters or they won't have an avenue to present their product and the whole system will fail.

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Barighm

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@non-scorer: Yep. That's pretty much it. A lot of the practices in place today were made back when movies would stay in theaters for months at a time, so the split would favour the cinema over time as the original purchase fee would get paid off. Nowadays, movies are lucky to last more than a few weeks, so most of the ticket price goes entirely into just breaking even with just enough of a split to cover the cinema's operating expenses. Concessions are the only way to make a real profit nowadays.

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DamianKain

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Maybe Hollywood can pass the hat. I don't want my money to be used to bail out theaters. I rarely go and when I do can barely escape a movie for under 15 much less if I want any sort of snack.

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thewindburner

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@damiankain: but, but, but, but they sang imagine for you, isn't that enough!

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deth420

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Edited By deth420

"The situation is that dire," Fithian explained. "Overnight, we went from an industry that makes $15 billion a year--$11 billion in ticket sales and $4 billion in concessions--to one that is not going to make a penny for three or four months."

guess you should have saved your pennies, for a rainy day.

Really this is gross.

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Barighm

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@deth420: To be fair, most theaters make just enough money on movie showings to pay the bills and even then that's only assuming enough people come to the theater to make that particular movie break even (they often make you buy movies in bundles, so you can't just buy that one popular movie). Without concessions there really aren't any pennies left to save.

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deth420

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@Barighm:

Yeah I have heard this as well. I guess I was more directing this at the studios or distributors. who strong arm the theaters into this mess.

Like disney and their billions of dollars of profits, from say the marvel franchise. maybe they should bail them out. if they want to continue to show their movies and make money.

Im still disgusted after the last bail outs. to companies that have really no accountability.

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