Christopher Nolan and Steve McQueen pen letter to Rishi Sunak pleading for more UK cinema funding

71st Cannes Film Festival - Screening of the new print of the film "2001: A Space Odyssey" presented as part of Cinema Classic - Red Carpet Arrivals - Cannes, France, May 13, 2018 - Director Christopher Nolan poses. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
Christopher Nolan at Cannes in 2018. (Reuters/Stephane Mahe)

Christopher Nolan, Steve McQueen, Barbara Broccoli and other UK movie giants have signed an open letter to the chancellor asking for more money to help save the UK cinema industry.

The letter to Rishi Sunak, published in The Sunday Times, says cinemas are now “on the edge of an abyss” due to the devastating effect of the coronavirus pandemic.

Bar a brief period of reopening for some screens over the summer, as lockdown measures in the UK were eased, the vast majority of cinemas were closed for most of 2020.

Read more: No Time To Die could be pushed back to November

“There is no doubt that if supported to survive, the sector will recover and once again thrive. But the need for direct financial support is pressing,” the letter reads.

“We recognise the support that government has already been able to provide. But we fear that this will not be enough, with the challenges being most acute for those larger cinema operators who have not been able to access any tailored funding.

Film producer Barbara Broccoli arrives for the European Premiere of "Film Stars Don't Die In Liverpool" during the British Film Institute (BFI) London Film Festival at the Odeon Leicester Square in London, Britain October 11, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Film producer Barbara Broccoli (Reuters/Toby Melville)

“These companies represent over 80% of the market, in many ways constituting its ‘critical mass’ and helping to drive the success of associated sectors such as film distribution and production coalesce. Without them, the future of the entire U.K. film industry would look extremely precarious.”

“UK cinema stands on the edge of an abyss. We urgently need targeted funding support to ensure that future generations can enjoy the magic of cinema.”

Nolan released his latest movie Tenet in August amid the pandemic, with much riding on its success.

However, due to vastly decreased footfall at cinemas, the action thriller, which starred John David Washington and Robert Pattinson, made $363m, a fraction of what it would have under normal circumstances.

Meanwhile, Broccoli’s latest movie, the 25th Bond movie No Time To Die, has been significantly delayed by the pandemic, with rumours it might be pushed back from its current release date in April to November.

The letter is signed by Andrea Arnold, Amma Asante, Simon Beaufoy, Tim Bevan, Danny Boyle, Graham Broadbent, Barbara Broccoli, Iain Canning, Gurinder Chadha, Noel Clarke, Richard Curtis, Stephen Daldry, Gareth Edwards, Eric Fellner, Stephen Frears, Stephen Fry, Sarah Gavron, Jane Goldman, Paul Greengrass, David Heyman, Armando Iannucci, Asif Kapadia, Elizabeth Karlsen, Duncan Kenworthy, Paul King, Jude Law, Philippa Lowthorpe, Andrew Macdonald, Kevin Macdonald, Steve McQueen, Sam Mendes, Peter Morgan, Christopher Nolan, Nira Park, David Puttnam, Lynne Ramsay, Guy Ritchie, Ridley Scott, Emma Thomas, Matthew Vaughn, Ben Wheatley, Michael G. Wilson, Stephen Woolley, Edgar Wright, Joe Wright and David Yates.

In October last year, the Cineworld chain announced that it was to close its 127 UK sites as well as 536 Regal theatres in the US, with 6,000 workers in the UK affected.

Watch: No Time To Die trailer