France’s Prime Minister Jean Castex on Wednesday said that the state has earmarked €2 billion ($2.36 billion) for the cultural sector in the wake of the coronavirus. While the full economic recovery plan — €100B euros in total — will not be officially unveiled until September 3, the newly installed Castex told France Inter radio that the state believes “culture is an economic activity” and that “the cultural sector has greatly suffered from the crisis… more than others.”
The state’s priority, according to Castex, is that business gets back on track. He added, “I say to the French: Go to the cinema, go to the theater, you risk nothing.” The timing is notable given today sees the release of Christopher Nolan’s anticipated Tenet throughout the country. The Warner Bros title is the first major new Hollywood movie here and is hoped to provide a significant boost for the market which last weekend was about 50% off the same period in 2019. Masks have also now become mandatory in movie theaters.
The Prime Minister, while not disclosing details of the endowment, said he would meet with film industry professionals Friday and representatives of live theater tomorrow alongside Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot. He intends to tell them, “If the sanitary measures that have been imposed do not allow you to reach your economic equilibrium… rather than to say we’ll let you close and indemnify you, we (the state) must make up the difference between the costs of the constraints and what would have been your balance point.”