Opening day of CinemaCon looks beyond Hollywood


Before the “official” kickoff of CinemaCon, the annual convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners in Las Vegas, on Monday night, Monday morning and early afternoon offer a program of “International Day” activities—and well they should, considering that theatres outside North America now account for some 70% of total global box office.

The morning agenda consisted of three informative keynote addresses and a quartet of seminars on subjects of interest to all exhibitors, including those in North America eager to hear about cutting-edge concepts. Tom Molter, executive VP of international distribution at Warner Bros. Pictures, predicted a nine percent boost in global box office by 2020, four percent of that stemming from China, which is opening an astonishing 20 new screens each day. No wonder speaker David Hancock of IHS Technology calculated that 49% of global box office will derive from Asia by 2019.

Alejandro Ramirez Magaña, CEO of the huge Mexico-based theatre circuit Cinépolis, noted that attendance is up in most international markets, though actual box office numbers are down due to the current value of the dollar.

For those solipsistic Americans who think the world revolves around Hollywood, Tomas Jegeus, president of Fox International Productions, had some startling news: It just ain’t so. Certain markets prefer their homegrown product, thank you very much. Cases in point: India, where only two U.S. films—Fast and Furious 7 and Jurassic World—made the 2015 top ten, and Turkey, where domestic films accounted for eight of the ten top spots. Last year, Fox International Productions celebrated its financing of the second-biggest domestic film ever in Argentina, The Clan, and Jegeus could point to many more homegrown Fox overseas hits. “If you’re not in the local movie business, you’re not a hundred percent in the movie business,” he declared. “A healthy local industry ensures a healthy global industry.”