No, Taxpayers Should NOT Bail Out Cinemas, Sorry Patty Jenkins and Other Millionaire Hollywood Directors

The Wonder Woman director has a right to her wrong opinion

This is rich, and that’s a major play on words.

Patty Jenkins, someone who has done some outstanding work on films like Monster and Wonder Woman and awaits the now Christmas release of the 80s timeline sequel (see: Wonder Woman 1984 Delayed Again Until Christmas Day 2020, Dune still December 18), is joining many other Hollywood directors trying to encourage the government to bail out the cinemas.

Jenkins is among dozens of top Hollywood directors appealing to the U.S. government to provide a financial lifeline to cinemas. Without it, she warned, the century-old tradition of going to the movies could disappear from American culture.

‘Wonder Woman’ director warns movie-going could become extinct

No, no, no, no. A thousand more nos. Horrible idea.

Here’s the thing, the government are people. All of us. We’re the taxpayers and we pay the taxes. So anything the government does, probably through printing money it doesn’t have since we’re multiple dozen trillions in debt, becomes a further burden on US taxpayers.

This image was taken from March 2020: $2 trillion deal stimulus package receives bipartisan support, movie theater chains likely included

Now look at the current debt clock taken from seconds ago, showing an increase of almost $4 trillion dollars.

US Debt as of 10/8/2020 — rising fast

We’re huge fans of watching movies at the theater, having paid for and watched over 100 movies in theaters the last year (see 2019 watched in theaters and 2020) — despite the pandemic wiping out most of the last six months.

If it comes down to a taxpayer bailout for cinemas to keep them from going out of business, then my answer at this point is blunt, but practical and necessary: let them go out of business. That wouldn’t be some major catastrophic failure. It’s not like the ozone layer depleted and life on earth as we know it will die. I believe that other savvy business people will rise up and seize the cinema experience, making some new, different experience. That’s America.

The whining about us not getting any or as many big budget movies? So what! (see: $100+ Million Movie Budgets Are Stupid) Great movies have been created on very modest budgets by today’s standards. Hollywood elites threatening us from their million dollar mansions is neither compelling or convincing.

Movies will still be made. Good movies will still be financed and made. Hollywood doesn’t need taxpayer funding.

I am concerned about the tens of thousands of underpaid workers who can’t work in the cinema business while they remain closed. We should have had a second stimulus plan that would have helped these people directly, but our government is too possessed with arguing over who will be president the next four years to concern themselves with helping the unemployed.

Or maybe — and this is definitely just me thinking out loud — if there was a stimulus plan before the election, then it looks like the current government did their job, that would be helpful to the current political party in power. My guess is there will be a stimulus plan, miraculous as it will be passed not too long after the result of the presidential election. Just as the Supreme Court vacancy will be filled. Movie theaters will either reopen or die. Life will go on. An asteroid hasn’t struck the earth if Hollywood has to restructure the way it works.

Perspective in life isn’t something, it’s everything.

These are the things the political powers that be are consumed by, not movie theaters. Not the majority of unemployed taxpayers. Not the people. Not us.

That’s probably the source of what Jenkins and her director group are focusing on, but these people will get jobs in some other business sector and/or maybe work in the new cinemas that pop up if/when the big three theater chains go out of business. And if some of these directors lose their mansions and luxurious lifestyle, sorry. You earned those benefits off the backs of millions of middle and lower income people paying to see your movies for escapism and entertainment. If people can’t/won’t afford to go in as large numbers to finance your next mansion, again, sorry.

It’s not just a rich vs. middle income and poor discussion though. Going out of business — or severe disruption impacting business — happens sooner or later to virtually every type of business. The same could be said of taxi drivers being disrupted over Lyft and Uber and countless other businesses through time that have been disrupted due to changing times and business. This isn’t personal, it’s just the way it is.

Bailouts are a bad idea for the entertainment sector, period. A sector that may give many of us pleasure, but isn’t a necessity. It’s entertainment, people. Pleasure. That can and will be had in a variety of other places if it goes away — and just so it’s clear, I don’t believe it will ever completely go away.

Go back to working on your next project, Mrs. Jenkins. If we can afford it, we might be interested in that.

8 thoughts on “No, Taxpayers Should NOT Bail Out Cinemas, Sorry Patty Jenkins and Other Millionaire Hollywood Directors

  1. I agree with this but more because it could serve to give the government a level of control. So many businesses seem to regularly seek bailouts. How long would it be before movie theaters again come forward with their hand outstretched and some politician or bureaucrat decides to use it to twist their arm to control content? I know that is a bit conspiratorial but in the end an industry is beholden to its sources of money-especially those keeping it afloat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Content control is a whole other issue and it’s a good point. Look at what happened during WWII … my oh my we need to listen and learn from history. It seems like we do … sort of.

      Bailouts for businesses are a thorny bush to jump into.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Totally agree, an an industry analyst and a film-maker. It’s pure entitlement to think that the government should have to bail-out the fanciful pursuit of film-making. Cinema makes money; if they’ve chosen not to put cash aside for this kind of eventuality, that’s their own fault…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I do feel for anyone losing a job at this point. I’m in California so I know it’s especially tough here. The main thing I get back is thanks but we have so many applicants…

    That being said I agree with you. Movies are not going to disappear. Cinema is not going to disappear. It will likely be very different (hopefully even better) but this idea that it’s going to be gone is just silly. They also might want to look at the fact that the over reliance on those insanely budgeted films is one of the things that are hurting them. Or Hollywood could give theaters a break on the box office take but they don’t even do that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I just don’t get why it’s required to have a film be $100 million budget to be good. No, it’s not. A $300 million budget movie can suck just as bad, maybe worse than a $3 million budget movie. I realize special effects cost more and actors need to be paid, but when times are lean, just use newer actors. Who knows, maybe the next Denzel or Meryl Streep or Robert De Niro are waiting out there for an opportunity. It’s silly to think we have to pay the Rock $30 million every film because he’s the Rock. Sure, he puts butts in seats, he’s a draw and more people will come to see him, but that isn’t as big a factor in every movie’s case. Maybe the Rock can take some financial stake in the movie so if it makes $x amount he could make more than taking a big salary up front. So many creative ways to deal with budgets for movies, that just saying “it can’t be good if the budget isn’t XYZ” is short-sighted.

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  4. I would be more sympathetic to your argument if you weren’t using Jenkins as your symbol of wealth and privilege.
    I’m glad she made money on Wonder Woman, but it’s the only money she made – it was only her second film, with a 14 year gap between it and her first, an indie, Monster.
    Other directors who also signed: Wes Anderson, Judd Apatow, James Cameron, Clint Eastwood, Paul Feig, Sam Mendes, Christopher Nolan, David O. Russell, Martin Scorsese, Zack Snyder, Steven Soderbergh…plenty of wealthy white males to choose from.

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    1. Interesting comment — but wrong.

      Patty Jenkins has had multiple opportunities to make more movies. I’m sure you know that. I’ve seen her say that in past articles, as have you most likely. She’s notoriously picky with her projects. I wish she was as picky with “causes” she chooses to sign onto. Unfortunately for her, she’s not.

      If you stick up for something stupid, you don’t get to say, “well why are you picking on me and not the others who also support this stupid idea?”

      They are all in the soup together.

      Really, this isn’t about her sex and I didn’t intend for it to be framed that way.

      But since you bring it up …

      Jenkins was the person the quoted article spotlighted (read the large quoted article) and, hence, what I did research on *that* spokesperson. I didn’t look for articles detailing the other spokespeople but appreciate you presenting the full list. I might update the article to point those other people out because those unnamed millionaires deserve at least equal spotlight, if not more, which is your point.

      James Cameron (he’s probably #1 on that list), Martin Scorsese, Sam Mendes, Christopher Nolan would all be better people to point out for your perspective of “symbol of wealth and power.”

      If my post had been purely about symbols of wealth and power, I agree that others beside Jenkins would make a better spokesperson.

      To stay on your point, though, I would think women would be in favor of me not treating Jenkins any differently than all the men on the list — some of them much, much more wealthy than her.

      And really, the difference between being worth $25 million and $250+ million is irrelevant.

      I’m a fan of having more female directors and wish Jenkins all the best with solid projects like Monster and Wonder Woman (jury out on WW1984, but I’m hoping it will be great) — except when she gets derailed and supports stupid ideas like this, then I’m going to disagree. This bailout idea is misguided and wrong. I don’t care if she’s as wealthy as others on the list — seriously, how does that change anything? — Jenkins’ is still wealthier than probably 99.5% of the people who will ever read this — and care.

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