George Clooney Calls for Movie Theaters to Receive Federal Bailout Amid Pandemic

George Clooney
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The actor penned an op-ed for 'Variety' on the survival of the film industry.

George Clooney is calling for the federal government to bail out movie theaters to help keep them afloat amid the global pandemic.

In a Variety op-ed published on Tuesday, The Midnight Sky star shared an optimistic outlook for the film industry despite movie theater closures, and the popularity of streaming outlets like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and HBO Max. 

“We should be giving federal aid to the theaters,” Clooney wrote. “The movie industry, Hollywood, which everybody loves to crap all over, is one of the largest exporters of original product in the United States. I would make the argument that they should be subsidizing the theaters and keeping everybody afloat.”

“[On the whole], it was a terrible year,” he continued. “It started with Kobe Bryant dying and went downhill from there. I remember when Chadwick Boseman died. I didn’t know he was sick. No one knew he was sick, and I remember that gut-punch feeling like this year is just designed to test our mettle and make us wonder when is this going to stop.”

Despite a trying year, Clooney noted that streaming companies have provided jobs to thousands of actors, writers and producers, in addition to new job opportunities for “new filmmakers, young people and minorities.”

Clooney also pointed out that the film industry has experienced growing pains before.

“In 1950 everybody panicked that the movie industry would be done because of television, and then it was VHS, and then it was DVDs,” he wrote before adding another shot of optimism. “The truth of the matter is there’s always going to be a great space for cinema.”

Like Clooney, director Christopher Nolan has been outspoken on the subject of movie theaters surviving the pandemic. Nolan was particularly candid about his disdain for HBO Max after Warner Bros. announced that all of its upcoming films will be simultaneously released in theaters and on the streaming service. 

“In 2021, they've got some of the top filmmakers in the world, they've got some of the biggest stars in the world who worked for years in some cases on these projects very close to their hearts that are meant to be big-screen experiences, Nolan told ET last week during a press junket promoting Tenet.

“They're meant to be out there for the widest possible audiences... And now they're being used as a loss-leader for the streaming service -- for the fledgling streaming service -- without any consultation," he added. "So, there's a lot of controversy. It's very, very, very, very messy. A real bait and switch.”