If the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic wasn’t a thing, director Scott Cooper would likely be on a publicity tour for his upcoming film, “Antlers,” which was supposed to be released in theaters on April 17. However, with the pandemic shutting down most of the theaters in the world, including pretty much 100% of theaters in the US, Cooper’s film has been delayed indefinitely. And with that in mind, the filmmaker is taking this as an opportunity to write a letter about the importance of cinemas and why we should all be happy about the recent US stimulus package that is in the process of being approved by the government.

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Cooper teamed up with the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) to write a letter explaining why he supports the $2.2 trillion stimulus package, as it likely means that many of the closed cinemas, especially the independently owned and operated ones, will be able to reopen their doors once this pandemic runs its course.

“I applaud the $2.2 trillion Senate aid package meant to ease immediate economic burdens across the country, and to allow movie theaters to cover fixed costs while normal revenue is interrupted. This is a welcome boost of confidence,” he wrote.

Cooper continued, “Any return to normalcy is far off, but this aid package is much-need positive news to an industry I cherish, and, one, along with so many other industries and citizens, that is suffering. The exhibition of feature films is a vital part of our social life, and one that provides jobs to over 150,000 theater employees, all of whom are unemployed as a result of the closures. We must continue to work together to support an industry that is vital to our cultural and civic life.”

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The new stimulus package that is expected to be passed will allow for businesses all over the US to return to business when regulations on social distancing and quarantining are relaxed, while also providing some money for those workers that are being laid off due to the pandemic. Cooper, like many, believe that the film industry, particularly theaters, were facing an existential threat without this relief. And now that it’s here, he’s hoping that soon, the theaters in the US can bring us films and help society move forward.

“Films will always allow us to explore the past, the present, and the future,” he wrote. “They will create conversation and debate. Here’s to a future of good health, and to a return to our cinemas, where the synergistic impact of film continue to create a powerful sense of emotion and engagement — a living record of the human condition.”

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As mentioned, Cooper’s latest film, “Antlers,” is still set to be released by Searchlight Pictures, but a specific date has yet to be announced.

Cooper’s full letter can be read below (via Deadline):

I don’t have to remind anyone who reads this that we are experiencing a singular time in our nation’s history when nearly every theater in our country is closed (save for a few die-hard Drive-In Theaters). For the first time since D.W. Griffith’s 17-minute, In Old California, was beamed on a white canvas, in Hollywood, on March 10, 1910, there are no new feature-films to be found playing anywhere.

Not even during wartime have we been deprived of the strong and collective emotion that comes with a film screening, one of our most cherished common experiences. In this time of unprecedented challenge and uncertainty, the world mustn’t forget the importance of cinema as a balm for what ails us. The combined impact of images, sound, and special effects elicit deep feelings, and help us better understand our own lives, and those around us. Films speak to the most central aspect of “who we are”.

Along with the National Association of Theater Owners and moviegoers the nation over, I applaud the $2.2 trillion Senate aid package meant to ease immediate economic burdens across the country, and to allow movie theaters to cover fixed costs while normal revenue is interrupted. This is a welcome boost of confidence.

Any return to normalcy is far off, but this aid package is much-need positive news to an industry I cherish, and, one, along with so many other industries and citizens, that is suffering. The exhibition of feature films is a vital part of our social life, and one that provides jobs to over 150,000 theater employees, all of whom are unemployed as a result of the closures. We must continue to work together to support an industry that is vital to our cultural and civic life.

Films will always allow us to explore the past, the present, and the future. They will create conversation and debate. Here’s to a future of good health, and to a return to our cinemas, where the synergistic impact of film continue to create a powerful sense of emotion and engagement — a living record of the human condition.

Scott Cooper
March 26, 2020
Los Angeles