Largest global cinema chains urge Gov. Cuomo to reopen theaters

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Owners of the biggest cinema chains across the globe are pleading with Gov. Andrew Cuomo to allow movie theaters to reopen in areas of the state with low infection rates.

The Global Cinema Federation, headed by Alejandro Ramirez Magaña, the CEO of Cinépolis, penned a letter to the governor Wednesday requesting the state reconsider its no-theaters policy, warning that many companies “will not survive” under continued closures.

“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,” Magana wrote.

“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.”

The letter was co-signed by a dozen other theater CEOs from the federation, including AMC, Cineworld and Cineplex.

Cineworld, which owns Regal, announced earlier this month it would close most of its US and UK theaters, citing the financial strain on the industry from coronavirus lockdowns.

New York’s market is so large that the state’s closure alone is influencing a studio’s decision not to release films, Magana added.

“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,” he wrote.

“Without new movies to play in our cinemas, many members of the global exhibition community will be forced to close their doors again.”

Magana praised Cuomo’s efforts to fight off the virus, but said the governor has offered “no clear path for movie theater reopenings” since he initially voiced support for the idea back on Aug. 19.

The federation argued that theaters are not as dangerous as dining or workplaces because people are remaining silent. It’s asked Cuomo to reopen theaters under a similar policy to  California, where Governor Newsom has allowed reopenings on a county-by-county basis.

Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to a Post request for comment. In a statement to Deadline, Governor Cuomo’s press secretary Caitlin Girouard said the state has more pressing issues at the moment as new cases surge.

“With cases rising in dozens of other states and countries, we are first and foremost doing everything we can to try and prevent a second wave of the pandemic in New York,” Girouard said.

“We understand it is, and continues to be, a difficult time for the entertainment industry but we will continue to make decisions on reopening based on the data, science and when global health experts determine it is safe to reopen without jeopardizing public health.”

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