Director Christopher Nolan is asking moviegoers for help. In an op-ed in The Washington Post, the director of classics like Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Insomnia, Momento, Inception and Interstellar argues that movies are more than “the stars, the studios, the glamour.”

He writes: “the movie business is about everybody: the people working the concession stands, running the equipment, taking tickets, booking movies, selling and advertising and cleaning bathrooms in local theaters. Regular people, many paid hourly wages rather than a salary, earn a living running the most affordable and democratic of our community gathering places.”

He referenced the havoc coronavirus is creating, infecting more than 300,000 and killing more than 13,000, closing movie theaters and all non-essential businesses in many states and cities.

Nolan writes: “In this time of unprecedented challenge and uncertainty, it's vital to acknowledge the prompt and responsible decisions made by all kinds of companies across our country that have closed their doors in full knowledge of the damage they are doing to their business.”

He continues: “there are parts of life that are far more important than going to the movies.” But he adds, “But, when you consider what theaters provide, maybe not so many as you might think.”

Nolan argues: “We don't just owe it to the 150,000 workers of this great American industry to include them in those we help, we owe it to ourselves. We need what movies can offer us.”

Nolan’s next film, Tenet, is due to drop July 17th.

As movie theaters go dark, many studios shift to the online world. Disney+ made Frozen 2 available online ahead of schedule, and Universal followed suit, making The Hunt, Emma, The Invisible Man and DreamWorks animation Trolls World Tour available to rent. Sony Pictures’ Bloodshot, starring Hollywood heavyweight Vin Diesel, will be available online soon.