Wes Anderson is trying to save movie theatres from extinction

If major studios postpone any more releases, there won’t be any cinemas to show them in.

by Douglas Greenwood
05 October 2020, 11:05am

When coronavirus first reared its ugly head back in early 2020, cinemas soon shuttered around the world. Framed, perhaps fairly, as a likely breeding ground for the virus, which favoured population-dense dark, warm places with little ventilation, the entire slate of releases for 2020 soon disappeared. First came the Billie Eilish-themed Bond film No Time To Die, then Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, and next Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch. We were, quite frankly, heartbroken. Now, Wes and many of his Hollywood cohorts are urging major movie studios to help out theatres to save them from the threat of possible extinction.

Wes, alongside Greta Gerwig, Barry Jenkins, Jordan Peele, Luca Guadagnino, Sofia Coppola and more, have signed a letter by the National Association of Theatre Owners in the US, asking the government to formulate some kind of bail out for the businesses that need it most right now. What’s more, The Telegraph have cited the UK Cinema Association’s studies that show no coronavirus clusters have been linked to movie theatres since their reopening -- only a single case of two workers in the North East of England who were infected outside of work. This proves that mask-wearing and social distancing really does have a strong effect on reducing the rate of transmission, and means that, with those measures in place, cinemas could be just as -- if not more -- safe than restaurants and bars, which have been open for months now.

“The moviegoing experience is central to American life,” the letter read. “268 million people in North America went to the movies last year to laugh, cry, dream, and be moved together. Theaters are great unifiers where our nation’s most talented storytellers showcase their cinematic accomplishments. Every aspiring filmmaker, actor, and producer dreams of bringing their art to the silver screen, an irreplaceable experience that represents the pinnacle of filmmaking achievement.” 

Right now, if you feel comfortable doing so, consider supporting your local cinema in any way possible: go see a movie, if you feel comfortable. But if not, buy a membership or a gift card to use when things are back to some sort of normality. Without cinemas, we lose a large chunk of a hugely important art form that governments are less willing to support. Do your bit so we can, eventually, see The French Dispatch in summer 2024.

Wes Anderson