Independent movie theaters get help from next stimulus bill

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Independent movie theaters and other live entertainment venues may get a boost from the most recent stimulus package. Photo by adam THEO, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The $1.9 trillion relief package President Biden signed on Thursday provides some help for small theaters and other entertainment venues. The American Rescue Plan includes an additional $1.25 billion for a grant program created last December for venue owners. The money may make it possible for some independent theaters to stay afloat until places are able to open to full capacity again. 

It’s been a brutal 12 months for theaters. Last week cinema chain Alamo Drafthouse declared bankruptcy. 

The big movie theater chains are also in trouble. AMC lost $4.6 billion in 2020, though the company’s CEO somehow managed to double his paycheck to $20 million last year. 

In addition to being shuttered for months, theaters are still in conflict with studios over when new movies will be played. The nation’s third largest movie chain, Cinemark, refused to play the newest Disney movie, “Raya and the Last Dragon,” because it didn’t like the terms it was being offered from Disney. “Raya” streamed for a premium fee on Disney+.

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