Global Cinema Operators Urge New York to Reopen Movie Theaters, Say Many ‘Will Not Survive’

Leaders at AMC, Cinemark and international distributors Wanda, VUE International and more all signed a letter sent to the governor

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It’s not just domestic theater chains that are desperate to see cinemas reopen in New York and Los Angeles, but also cinema operators worldwide. The executive committee of the Global Cinema Federation (GCF) on Wednesday sent a letter to New York Gov.  Andrew Cuomo urging him to consider the global interests of cinema exhibition and to finally reopen theaters in the state.

The Federation’s letter says that the New York market is crucial to the industry worldwide, and with no new films to exhibit, it affects the industry at large, not just domestically.

“With New York’s theaters shuttered for nearly seven months and no indication of when they will be allowed to reopen, the studios that supply new movies have been reluctant to release their latest films to the point where almost no new major films will be released globally until 2021 and beyond,” the letter reads. “Without new movies to play in our cinemas, many members of the global exhibition community will be forced to close their doors again. Many of these companies will not survive.”

The letter was signed by AMC’s Adam Aron, Cinemark’s Mark Zoradi and NATO’s John Fithian, but also the heads of Toho Cinemas, VUE International, Wanda and others.

The letter also points out that NATO’s CinemaSafe protocols have been vetted by epidemiologists to minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19, and it claims that theater-going is still safer than dining indoors or attending religious services inside a church.

It also points to theaters in countries such as Korea, Japan and Sweden that have remained open for months but have not seen reported cases associated with people attending cinemas.

The letter finally recommended that New York adopt a rolling policy similar to California and open cinemas on a county-by-county basis, according to virus data.

“On August 19 you said, ‘Movie theaters, I think, are next.’ More than a month later, there is still no clear path for movie theater reopenings in New York,” the letter said. “This state of limbo, with no set reopening plans or dates, is what is scaring the studios away from releasing their films this year. Our industry employs hundreds of thousands of people throughout the World, all of whom are eager to get back to work and entertain their customers in a safe environment. It is genuinely no exaggeration to say that the continued closure of cinemas in your state has put their future in jeopardy, and we ask that exhibitors in New York be given the opportunity to operate again. We welcome the opportunity to meet with you and work together on a plan to reopen New York’s cinemas.”

The Global Cinema Federation has membership from over 100 companies, including exhibitors and trade associations between six continents and 90 countries.

Cuomo earlier this week gave an update on New York state’s positivity rate, which sits at 1.12% when Red Zone hot spots are included.


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