By Clark Collis
March 19, 2020 at 11:06 AM EDT

Shaun of the Dead and Baby Driver director Edgar Wright has encouraged film fans to support cinemas during the current coronavirus crisis, which has led to the closing of movie theaters throughout the world.

"I dearly hope, as a fan of the cinema, that any light at the end of the tunnel of this period in history includes the Xenon bulb that so many of us worship," says the filmmaker, in an essay for Empire magazine. "Since big-screen exhibition has fought in recent years to combat the comforts of home cinema, the climb back from this shuttering of picture palaces may be tougher than ever, especially for many independent cinemas that you may cherish. So how can you, a fan of cinema, help the big screens out there that you adore even as their doors stay closed?"

Wright encouraged fans to support theater chains by purchasing memberships or making donations, something the star himself says he's done for the cinemas he frequents.

"One way of showing your unwavering support is to become a member of your favorite cinema. After you’ve read this, why not buy a membership for yourself, or for someone close to you. Buy some gift cards. Donate where you can. Consider, if you can afford to, not asking for your unlimited subscription to be refunded. Yes, you may not be able to go back in the coming months, but you’ll feel better for having helped now than if you later found your local church of cinema had been forced to close for good. I myself have been buying memberships to cinemas I frequent that I hadn’t already joined. This is not a luxury that everyone can afford, but for those who can, think of the many hard-working staff at your favorite cinemas who may have just lost their jobs. This might help ensure they have a place of work to return to.

"When this is all over, I can’t wait to get back in there and support my favorite cinemas in any way I can, even if it means watching way too many commercials, sitting through trailers that I’ve already seen several thousand times, and watching a franchise film that could easily lose 15 to 20 minutes (whispers: 'They all can')."

Wright's other directorial credits include Hot Fuzz, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and the upcoming horror film Last Night in Soho, which is currently set to be released Sept. 25. The British filmmaker is also directing a documentary about the pop group Sparks. As a teenager Wright worked as a projectionist at the Regal cinema in his hometown of Wells, Somerset.

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