Senator Chris Dodd sent out all the right signals and said nothing new in his inaugural address as chairman and CEO of the MPAA at CinemaCon on Tuesday .
In an articulate and charismatic address to convention attendees at The Colosseum in Caesars Palace, the former Democratic Senator for Connecticut touched on several of the key talking points here, namely the popularity of 3D, the need to preserve theatrical exhibition, fight piracy and tackle import restrictions in China.
National Association Of Theatre Owners (NATO) chief John Fithian also spoke to attendees and urged them to convert their cinemas to digital, predicting that film would be “unavailable” as a technology by the end of 2013.
In a press conference shortly after the Colosseum address Dodd, who despite being only nine days into the job has already impressed NATO board members with his command of data and grasp of the key issues, was asked about the prospect of shrinking windows (see feature on premium VoD on Screendaily today). Fithian interjected that the matter was not on the official agenda this week and intimated the conversation would continue on another occasion.
In his speech to attendees earlier in the day Dodd said: “The production and exhibition industries cannot succeed – cannot survive – without each other. If you fail, we fail. And it’s just as true that if we fail so will you.”
He continued: “But even though so much about our industry has changed over the years, the importance of the theatre setting hasn’t. Our films are still made to be shown on big screens in dark theatres filled with people.
“And no matter how our industry continues to evolve, I want all of you gathered here this morning to know that as the new CEO and chairman of the MPAA, I passionately believe there remains no better way to see a movie than in a theatre, and no more important relationship for our studios to maintain than the one we have with you.”
Referring to the first quarter decline in box office in North America Dodd said the issue was “a concern for all of us” before adding that the ebb and flow of admissions meant audiences would return to theatres.
He said piracy was “perhaps the single biggest threat we face as an industry” and was in favour of lobbying Congress to stamp out rogue sites and said he supported ongoing educational efforts to ensure the younger generation in particular realised this was not “a victimless crime.”
The speeches followed a presentation of three of the four 2012 releases from DreamWorks introduced by co-chairman/CEO Stacey Snider. Attendees saw footage from The Help (due out Aug 12) and met stars Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer.
Colin Farrell and director Craig Gillespie were on hand to introduce the Fright Night remake (Aug 19) that also stars Anton Yelchin and Toni Collette, while Hugh Jackman and director Shawn Levy came along to talk up Reel Steel (Oct 7). The fourth film on this year’s slate is Steven Spielberg’s War Horse and is set to open on Dec 28.
Towards the end of the day Disney paid tribute during its presentation to outgoing distribution chief Chuck Viane. Studio executives then showed footage from Cars 2 and brought star Larry The Cable Guy on to the stage for the briefest of comedy routines.
This was followed by a reveal of concept art from Pixar’s upcoming 13th feature Brave set for release in summer 2012, and Monsters University, a prequel to Monsters, Inc that will launch towards the end of 2012.
Jason Segel and Amy Adams talked up The Muppets, which will open over Thanksgiving weekend. It also emerged that John Cleese will narrate Winnie The Pooh, set to open on Jul 15.
The studio compiled a sizzle reel for May 2012 release The Avengers and saved the big guns until last when Jerry Bruckheimer and Rob Marshall came on to introduce around 20 minutes of footage for the upcoming summer blockbuster Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
In other news:
- IMAX Corporation Russian chain Cinema Park have signed an agreement to instal eight digital IMAX theatre systems in 2012 and 2013. Russia and CIS together represent IMAX’s third biggest market after the US and China.
- Harkness Screens unveiled its Perlux Digital product at the show. The latest innovation retains all the features of the Perlux line with the added benefit of being optimised for digital projection.
- Dolby demonstrated a range of new products including a 4K-compatible server and low-cost 3D glasses.