By Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The coronavirus pandemic has hit the movie industry hard and many are struggling to survive. Now, Washington is sending money to help keep the marquees on.

Movie theaters have sat mostly empty for nearly a year.

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The pandemic first led to shutdowns. Many like Santikos Entertainment in Texas were able to open, but the big blockbusters didn’t return.

“Over 80% of the movies that were supposed to be shown this year have been delayed, some of those have gone direct to streaming,” says Santikos CEO Tim Handren.

Theaters have tried to attract customers. In the Philippines, moviegoers can see a show on a socially distanced gondola.

Smaller U.S. operations are finding some success playing older popular movies.

Places like AMC will let you rent your own theater for as little as $99.

Still, a Comscore study found revenue for the industry dropped 80% in 2020, leaving many theaters big and small on the brink of bankruptcy. But now some financial help is on the way.

AMC Theatres recently raised hundreds of millions of dollars in financing on its own to stay afloat.

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Smaller companies are getting stimulus aid from Washington.

“It’s going to be a real lifeline for, you know, thousands of businesses across the country,” says Patrick Corcoran, vice president, and chief communications officer at the National Association of Theatre Owners.

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The organization successfully lobbied congress for $15 billion in grant money. Businesses that qualify can use it to pay employees, rent, utilities, and vendors.

“This will certainly get most companies well into the spring, possibly later,” Corcoran said.

After that, it’s hoped widespread vaccinations will help flip the script.

“We hope it rolls out faster, gets more widespread and we can get back to business as usual,” Corcoran said.

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That would give movie theaters a shot at a Hollywood ending. Team