CinemaCon 2018: Where Important Developments Are Happening

by John Fithian, President & CEO, National Association of Theatre Owners

During this eighth edition of CinemaCon, the motion picture industry celebrates many exciting new developments and takes some important steps. Welcome to a busy, educational, fun week of programming, business, and networking. Here are some of the highlights we expect to see:

CinemaCon Keeps Registration Fees Stable for Members of NATO, ICTA, and NAC

Let’s start with a pocketbook issue. CinemaCon continues to offer tremendous value to its attendees by providing four days of important programming at very competitive registration rates. For 2018 we decided not to raise those rates by one penny from last year for those attendees who are members of NATO, ICTA, or NAC.

NATO and CinemaCon Adopt New Anti-Harassment Policy

On the heels of important and long-overdue public disclosures and discussions across the industry and the country, and encouraged by courageous voices in the #MeToo movement, NATO and CinemaCon adopted an enhanced Code of Conduct for our convention attendees. Please be aware that this policy will be strictly enforced.

CODE OF CONDUCT

CinemaCon is the largest and most important gathering of the motion picture theater industry, with attendees from cinema companies, studios, vendors, and more from across the globe. All participants, attendees, speakers, sponsors, trade floor exhibitors, staff and volunteers at CinemaCon are required to agree with the following code of conduct. We expect cooperation from all participants to help ensure a safe and nonhostile environment for everybody.

The National Association of Theatre Owners is committed to allowing attendees to experience CinemaCon free of harassment, discrimination, sexism, and threatening or disrespectful behavior. CinemaCon attendees violating this policy may have their credentials or access revoked without a refund at the discretion of the conference organizers.

Please note we will also be setting up an 24-hour hotline during convention dates, allowing attendees at any time to report the behavior if they are being harassed or witness someone else being harassed.

We value your attendance and appreciate your adherence to this policy.

A Record 11 Distributors to Make Product Presentations

Showcasing the upcoming film slate has always constituted a primary goal at CinemaCon, and 2018 raises the bar even higher. A record-setting 11 distribution companies will bring product and special guests to Vegas this year. CinemaCon and NATO are pleased to welcome our newest player, Entertainment Studios, and its founder and CEO, Byron Allen. And of course our attendees will be thrilled to see exciting material from Sony, Disney, Warner Bros., STX, Universal, Focus Features, Paramount, Fox, Amazon, and Lionsgate.

Charles Rivkin Addresses his First CinemaCon as MPAA Chairman

Charles “Charlie” Rivkin is off to an impressive start as the new chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America. Charlie brings tremendous experience, both in diplomacy and in the entertainment industry, to the position. He made a great first impression in an address to NATO’s Fall Summit in September, and now will take the stage at CinemaCon for the first time. All of us at NATO are grateful for Charlie’s partnership and leadership.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Makes Its First Public Address Regarding the Newly Opened Cinema Market

Last year NATO was honored to accept an invitation from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to assemble a team of trainers to meet with the government in Riyadh for an intensive series of educational programming. Subsequent to those meetings, the kingdom announced that it would allow cinema exhibition for the first time in a generation. Now the honor continues as the kingdom’s president of the General Commission on Audiovisual Media—the lead government agency in oversight of the new industry—will address CinemaCon’s International Day and discuss how movies will be regulated, distributed, and exhibited within the kingdom.

The Recently Launched Global Cinema Federation Offers the First Public Description of its Work

Two trade associations and 12 leading exhibition companies hailing from every corner of the world announced the formation of a Global Cinema Federation (GCF) last June in Barcelona. Now at CinemaCon 2018 the GCF’s chairman, Alejandro Ramírez Magaña, with join UNIC leader Phil Clapp in the first public description of the work of the federation. Our goals are ambitious as we work with exhibitors around the world on such crucial issues as theatrical exclusivity, movie theft, technology, international trade and investment, music licensing, and access for patrons with disabilities.

Alejandro Ramírez Magaña Becomes the First Non-American to Win the NATO Marquee Award

Speaking of our friend Alejandro, CinemaCon and NATO are very pleased that 2018 will mark the first year when a cinema leader outside the United States receives our most significant award. From its headquarters in Mexico, Cinépolis has expanded across Latin America to India, to Spain, and now operates theaters in the U.S. as well. With a strong team of fellow executives, Alejandro guides a truly global company. Through his leadership of the GCF and in many other roles, Alejandro has demonstrated his passion for this great industry.

Consolidation Brings Renewed Strength to the Industry, as NATO Thanks Some Outgoing Leaders

Both in movie distribution and exhibition, consolidation within the industry has accelerated recently. On the exhibition side, companies like AMC, Cinépolis, CJ-CGV, and others have grown across international boundaries. The latest development comes as Cineworld (itself the result of a previous merger between CinemaCity and Cineworld) has acquired Regal to become the second-largest exhibitor in the world after AMC. NATO has worked for many years with Cineworld’s leadership in Israel and Europe, and now welcomes them to the American side of the pond.

At the same time, though, NATO and CinemaCon raise a big toast of thanks for the tremendous leadership given to the industry by the outgoing team at Regal. Amy Miles offered important strategic guidance in her many positions at NATO, including her last role as chairwoman. Rob Del Moro served ably as a CinemaCon Board of Directors member and in other capacities. Randy Smith has been the most significant volunteer in the modern history of NATO, guiding our efforts in government relations, law, and security, to name but a few. Greg Dunn, David Ownby, and many other Regal executives have been instrumental partners of NATO and CinemaCon. Thank you, friends, for all you have done.

It looks to be a busy and significant week in Vegas. We look forward to seeing you at the show, on the trade floor, in meetings, and in the hallways!

John Fithian

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