Dec 8, 2020 - Economy & Business

Congress considers relief for small theaters

Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios
Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Congressional aides tell Axios that the stimulus proposal put forth by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, which already has President Trump's seal of approval, would provide $15 billion in grants to independent performance venues and movie theaters.

Yes, but: The relief would only be available to companies with fewer than 500 full-time employees, about 60% of the movie theaters in the U.S.

  • A separate $908 billion proposal from a bipartisan group of lawmakers, which is still being negotiated, is expected to include similar language that would target its relief to smaller venues and theaters struggling to stay afloat.

Be smart: Stimulus talks are ongoing, and nothing is final.

The bottom line: There is little appetite among lawmakers to help large, publicly traded theaters, who have more access to capital than smaller venues.

  • For the major exhibitors not covered by the relief package, their fate hangs on the prospect of a vaccine. Despite vaccine hopes, theater stocks have tumbled lately in response to news that studios are planning more streaming releases.
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