In Praise of CinemaCon


Why do movie executives go to CinemaCon? Is it that they like Las Vegas? Do they enjoy gambling or seeing extravagant shows? What about the great restaurants and wonderful hotels? No, that is not the primary reason they travel to the largest and most important trade event for theatrical exhibition.

CinemaCon is a meeting place for everyone who is involved in some facet of the motion picture business. If you want to know what films will be opening through the end of the year…you go to CinemaCon. If you want to network with your peers from all over the globe…you go to CinemaCon. If you want to experience new technologies in the industry and taste new concessions…you go to CinemaCon.

So it’s no secret that the entire industry converges on Las Vegas the week of CinemaCon to achieve and experience all these things. This editor thought it would be interesting to get the perspective of distribution heads, exhibitors, manufacturers and association heads to determine why they make the trip.

Here’s what they are saying (in no specific order):

Jack Kline, Christie Digital Systems, USA: “CinemaCon has become the global convention for the cinema industry. The show draws our customers and partners from not only the USA but Asia, South America and EMEA. At Christie we plan and time our product launches to coincide with the show and we use it to introduce new technology and business models.”

Nikki Rocco, Universal Pictures: “CinemaCon is a perfect place for us to spend quality time with exhibition, discussing industry matters near and dear to our hearts in a face-to-face environment, brainstorm about issues and challenges that arise in our business, and present our upcoming slate of movies to our customers.”

Anthony Marcoly, Paramount Pictures International: “CinemaCon is the largest gathering of exhibitors and distributors in one location. It provides the unique opportunity to show and discuss your upcoming product on a large scale as well as in individual meetings. International exhibitors show up from around the globe, which for an international studio exec provides a one-stop venue to do business with partners from every continent. It’s an efficient way to see and spend time with your clients. Without CinemaCon, my already busy travel schedule would increase substantially.”

Richie Fay, Lionsgate: “I have been attending CinemaCon (ShoWest) for well over 35 years and I still find it fun, invigorating and informative. It’s amazing to me to have had a meeting with someone in L.A. literally days before the convention and greet them in Vegas as if they were the Prodigal Son returning!”

Dan Borschke, National Association of Concessionaires: “NAC participates annually at CinemaCon to connect with our numerous members who are in attendance, acknowledge excellence as we present the Bert Nathan Award to an outstanding NAC member (this year Timothy Farha of Nestle), and interact with the exciting and viable movie industry which employs countless numbers while entertaining millions worldwide.”

Joe DeMeo, International Cinema Technology Association: “CinemaCon represents the coming together of all facets of the cinema industry including studios, distributors, exhibitors, manufacturers, dealers and service providers under one roof, showing their new movies, technologies and services. There is no better place to be if you want to meet with your customers, suppliers, etc., as everyone is who is anyone in the business attends. It is the only time during the year where this type of convergence occurs on this level. Based on this type of attendance, the show represents the biggest overall opportunity to discuss business with my customers and show them new technologies and review their needs for the year.”

Andrew Cripps, IMAX Corp.: “CinemaCon is the highlight of the spring calendar and is the one place which attracts the A list of international exhibition and distribution. In four days you can meet your clients from around the world, get a glimpse of the upcoming year’s product, and attend seminars and presentations that are relevant to developments in the industry. For me, it is an essential and highly efficient week.”

Tim Warner, Cinemark: “In addition to the studio presentations and the opportunity to meet with the key vendors to our industry, CinemaCon provides us with the unique opportunity to interact with our fellow exhibitors from around the world. Each year you come away from CinemaCon with a better knowledge of where we are at as an industry and, more importantly, insight into where we are going.”

Ellis Jacob, Cineplex Odeon: “It’s the one place each year for exhibition industry colleagues to meet their peers and exchange ideas about this fast-paced and ever-changing marketplace. The tradeshow provides an exceptional opportunity to see new technology, services and merchandising choices. It also provides a great venue to meet with our studio partners, watch the latest movies and have some fun together in this great business.”

Neil Campbell, Landmark Cinemas of Canada: “CinemaCon is the biggest and the best cinema convention there is. You have the opportunity to meet with the relevant industry individuals and see all the newest upcoming movies, the latest in technology, concession and seminars on relevant industry topics. Landmark Cinemas of Canada has been attending since fthe irst convention in Las Vegas (30 plus years). Cheers to CinemaCon, Mitch, John and the NATO team on a great show!”

Paul Hanneman, Twentieth Century Fox International: “CinemaCon presents the unique opportunity for us to meet with the majority of our key exhibition partners—both domestic and international—in one location, in a single week. The event allows us to showcase our upcoming lineup as well as to gain insight into the competitive landscape.”

K.C. Ciaramello, Coca-Cola: “Cinema is as vibrant today as it was in the early days of filmmaking. Coca-Cola is proud to provide moments of refreshment to moviegoers throughout the history of film. As a presenting sponsor of CinemaCon for the next five years, we greatly value our participation in the world’s largest and most important gathering of cinema owners and operators. We look forward to joining industry leaders to educate, honor and celebrate moviegoing.”

Jack Kline, Pioneer
When the dust clears—and it has just about settled—and we look back over the past decade, we will realize that we have witnessed the greatest change in the movie business since 1891 when Edison introduced his Vitascope projector. Yes, the introduction of the digital projector is what we are referring to.

Jack Kline is certainly one of the people most responsible for taking this concept and running with it and making it happen all over the globe. Christie is the most prolific digital projector manufacturer and it is most fitting that Jack, president and CEO of all Christie’s operating companies worldwide, will receive the Ken Mason Award from the InterSociety for the Enhancement of Cinema Presentation.

There are many similarities between Ken Mason and Jack Kline, and this editor is proud to have known Ken and considers Jack to be one of his close personal friends. Both men are of high integrity and both have a clear vision of the future. Their contributions to the overall improvement of the motion picture experience mirror one another, although one was in film and one in digital. Ken was an avid golfer and so is Jack. Both are so professional and committed to the betterment of the industry. Each is a devoted family member whose word is their bond.

The April edition of FJI contains an in-depth look into the life of Jack Kline. It is wonderful
reading about a wonderful person who truly deserves this honor.

Hollywood on the Bayou
Everyone knows that California is the moviemaking capital of the world, right? Not so fast, Mr. Know-It-All. OK, then it must be New York! Actually, when it comes to major movies, the state that made the most features in 2013 was Louisiana—believe it or not! Eighteen of the 108 films released last year that were produced by the major studios were shot in the Bayou State, according to the 2013 Feature Film Production Study by FilmLA.

California and Canada were next with 15, followed by the U.K. with 12 and New York only four. The numbers confirm what many in California’s film and TV industry fear. The state’s share of projects has been steadily eroding since 1997. The next step is for state legislators to expand California’s film and television tax credit. Without it, the situation will only deteriorate more.