Weekly Now: The Fight to Save the Movie Theater

The film industry makes an economic case to save movie theaters, many of which face threats of closing permanently. Also: why the holiday season is coming earlier than ever—and it’s not because Christmas music is already on the radio.

At a time when even a surefire blockbuster like Christopher Nolan’s Tenet can’t get people to go to the movies, the theater industry’s most prominent trade group is warning of some tough headwinds.

Last week, the National Association of Theatre Owners, along with the Directors Guild of America and the Motion Picture Association, sent a letter to members of Congress requesting specific, targeted aid to protect movie theaters, which saw massive declines in revenue during the early months of the pandemic.

The letter—also signed by a number of high-profile directors, actors, and producers, including Clint Eastwood, Wes Anderson, Jordan Peele, Melissa McCarthy, and Martin Scorsese—noted the economic toll an extended downturn could take on movie theaters:

“The pandemic has been a devastating financial blow to cinemas. Ninety-three percent of movie theater companies had over 75 percent in losses in the second quarter of 2020. If the status quo continues, 69 percent of small and mid-sized movie theater companies will be forced to file for bankruptcy or to close permanently, and 66 percent of theater jobs will be lost. Our country cannot afford to lose the social, economic, and cultural value that theaters provide.”

The letter added that the movie theater industry directly supports 150,000 employees and indirectly supports the film production industry.

The issue took on additional urgency after the nation’s second-largest theater chain, Regal Cinemas, said it would suspend business operations just weeks after reopening for the release of Tenet. The filmed had garnered $307 million in revenue worldwide but just $45 million in the U.S.

Other news highlights:

Start buying early. Despite annual complaints about the holiday season starting earlier each year, the National Retail Federation is leaning into an early start this year because of COVID-19. According to CNBC, the association launched a new campaign, “Shop Safe, Shop Early,” urging consumers to buy holiday goods at retailers now to avoid crowds and to discourage last-minute online purchases.

A case to delay Real ID. The long-in-the-works effort to require passengers to have a Real ID-certified license to board a plane were already postponed thanks to COVID-19, but the U.S. Travel Association is pushing for another delay, CNET reports. The Department of Homeland Security says just a third of Americans have a Real ID license, and with a vaccine still months away, it’s unlikely that updated IDs would be distributed in time for the October 2021 deadline, the association argues.

Community at the Center

Dion Hinchcliffe, a keynote speaker at multiple ASAE technology conferences over the past decade, knows a thing or two about the digital workspace. Currently the vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research, Hinchliffe says that although digital tools have enabled widespread remote work, they’re only part of the answer for organizational teams:

“By default the single best model for digital communication and collaboration—and the one that produces the most human engagement and the richest outcomes—is the online community or enterprise social network. Nothing else compares in terms of openness, transparency, ability to enable wide participation, ensuring diversity, encouraging agile business methods, collecting and preserving knowledge, doing all this at any magnitude, and the list goes on.”

Read his blog for more insights about how to integrate the spirit of community into your digital workplace.


A recent survey from Aon shows that the secret to organizational survival in a difficult time might be staff resilience and agility.

What should you look for in membership software? Our guide has a few tips.

The American Telemedicine Association is taking advantage of the spotlight on its industry during this pandemic year, Lisa Boylan reports.

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Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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