Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday announced $10 million in federal money is being awarded to 54 movie theater operators across the state. This includes more than $4 million for Milwaukee-based Marcus Theaters. The Marcus Palace Cinema is pictured in Sun Prairie. 
(Photo by Christina Lieffring)
Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday announced $10 million in federal money is being awarded to 54 movie theater operators across the state. This includes more than $4 million for Milwaukee-based Marcus Theaters. The Marcus Palace Cinema is pictured in Sun Prairie. (Photo by Christina Lieffring)

The list of recipients includes small, independently owned theaters and chains such as Milwaukee-based Marcus Theaters, which was awarded over $4 million.

Some federal coronavirus pandemic aid is coming through Gov. Tony Evers’ office to local movie theaters around Wisconsin, bringing some relief to the hard-hit entertainment sector that has seen countless live shows, concerts, and screenings canceled.

Evers announced on Tuesday that 54 theater operators have been awarded a total of $10 million from the COVID-19 Movie Theater Grant Program. The funds initially came from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Governors have wide latitude for how to distribute their states’ share of the funds.

“Wisconsin businesses across industries and communities have felt the strains of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and movie theaters have been particularly hard as they also battle stalled movie production,” Evers said in a press release. “Movie theaters are often a cornerstone of our main street businesses, and I am glad we were able to get these funds out the door to help them keep theirs open.” 

The list of recipients includes small, independently owned theaters as well as chains such as Milwaukee-based Marcus Theaters, which was awarded over $4 million. Marcus Theaters reopened 17 of its 72 movie theaters in August but re-closed them by October due to a lack of new releases and lack of interest among movie-goers.

Recipients received on average $14,600 per movie screen, an amount that will help small theaters in places ranging from Fish Creek to Park Falls and Spring Green to Stanley. The funds can go toward pandemic-related operational costs, such as facility improvements to promote social distancing, cleaning and sanitizing and personnel. 

“Movie theaters employ thousands of individuals throughout the state,” saidWisconsin  Department of Administration Secretary Joel Brennan. “We hope this funding will provide some relief to these institutions in communities large and small so that they can continue to provide Wisconsinites with employment and family memories in the years to come.”

One of the surprise success stories of the pandemic has been the re-emergence of drive-in movies across the US and even in Europe