Movie theaters are just one small component of the massive economic impact of coronavirus. But for film lovers, they are an enormously important one — to say nothing about the thousands upon thousands of people employed in that industry. As multiplexes around the world shutter, some movie studios have delayed their upcoming releases. Others have released some films straight to VOD. That’s led some experts to wonder whether movie theaters could be permanently impacted by coronavirus, long after the current shutdown has ended.

The enormous uncertainty about the future of theaters prompted one of their staunchest Hollywood advocates, director Christopher Nolan, to pen an editorial about the theatrical experience in the Washington PostCalling theaters “a vital part of social life, providing jobs for many and entertainment for all,” he added this plea for theaters:

When this crisis passes, the need for collective human engagement, the need to live and love and laugh and cry together, will be more powerful than ever. The combination of that pent-up demand and the promise of new movies could boost local economies and contribute billions to our national economy. We don’t just owe it to the 150,000 workers of this great American industry to include them in those we help, we owe it to ourselves. We need what movies can offer us.

You can read Christopher Nolan’s full essay in the Washington PostNolan’s new film, Tenet, is scheduled to open in theaters on July 17, 2020. And when they reopen, support movie theaters.

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