James Cameron has appealed to the US Congress to help aid movie theatres affected by the coronavirus.
The 66-year-old filmmaker – whose filmography includes box office hits such as ‘Aliens’, ‘Titanic’ and ‘Avatar’ – has teamed up with fellow directors, producers and executives from the National Association of Theater Owners, the Directors Guild of America and the Motion Picture Association to co-sign a letter to Washington D.C. appealing for financial help for the industry.
They wrote: "The moviegoing experience is central to American life. 268 million people in North America went to the movies last year to laugh, cry, dream, and be moved together."
The letter also asserts that movie theatres are "great unifiers" that without funding "may not survive the impact of the pandemic".
Cinemas across the US were forced the close at the start of the pandemic in March, and although some have reopened with a reduced capacity, 69 per cent of small and mid-sized cinema firms will file for bankruptcy or close permanently without the help of the government.
The letter has been signed by more than 70 people including acclaimed filmmakers Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, Judd Apatow, Greta Gerwig, Jordan Peele, Wes Anderson and Ang Lee.
They pleaded for both the Republican and Democrat members of the United States Senate and the House of Representatives to redirect unspent funds from a coronavirus aid bill passed that was earlier this year, or create a new aid bundle that would support cinemas.
The letter continued: "Cinemas are an essential industry that represent the best that American talent and creativity have to offer. But now we fear for their future."
They have also asked the government to support cinema staff as the theater industry employs 150,000 people and about two-thirds of those jobs could disappear if the health crisis continues.
The letter added: "Our country cannot afford to lose the social, economic, and cultural value that theaters provide."