by Kathy Conroy, Vice President and COO, NATO
Welcome to CinemaCon 2019, where movie theater owners and operators gather to celebrate the moviegoing experience! Every year since CinemaCon’s inception in 2011, NATO volunteer leaders have been crucial contributors to the planning and execution of the convention. We are grateful for their generous support, and I’d like to give a brief “shout out” to the volunteers who have made significant contributions. This year’s convention would not be possible without the leadership of NATO Conventions Committee Chairman Steve Zuehlke, Cinemark USA, Inc.; Vice Chairman Bob Bagby, B&B Theatres; and committee members Byron Berkley, Foothills Entertainment Co.; John Curry, Regal Cinemas; John McDonald, AMC Entertainment, Inc.; Miguel Rivera, Cinépolis; and Racheal Wilson, Harkins Theatres. The Conventions Committee works closely with NATO’s professional convention staff headed by Managing Director Mitch Neuhauser. A debt of gratitude, too, goes to NATO’s elected officers—Chairman Ellis Jacob, Cineplex Entertainment; Vice Chairman Rolando Rodriguez, Marcus Theatre Corp.; Secretary Jeff Logan, Logan Luxury Theatres Corp.; and Treasurer Joe Masher, Bow Tie Cinemas—and all of NATO’s Executive Board members who have been so supportive of the convention. Working together, NATO members and staff have created a ninth-annual CinemaCon convention that is sure to delight you.
With strong support from our studio partners and sponsors, the Conventions Committee put together a CinemaCon 2019 program schedule that is diverse, informative, and fun. It includes the largest cinema trade show in the world, featuring the latest advances in cinema technology and innovations in concessions. NATO is grateful to Alan Roe and the International Cinema Technology Association (ICTA) and to Andrew Cretors and the National Association of Concessionaires (NAC) for their support in filling a world-class trade show floor.
You’ll want to be sure to attend the “State of the Industry” program on Tuesday morning, during which NATO Chairman Ellis Jacob, Cineplex Entertainment, will present NATO’s 2019 Marquee Award to John D. Loeks, Studio C. The session also features a retrospective of the “Top Worldwide Grossing Films of 2018” and remarks by MPAA Chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin and NATO President and CEO John Fithian.
This year’s CinemaCon program is packed with product presentations, sponsored events, educational sessions, trade show displays, and screenings. In addition to the studio presentations and the trade show floor, the educational sessions offered at CinemaCon are highly valued by attendees. The educational programming begins even before opening night with a session on Monday afternoon by Jon Taffer, entrepreneur, author, and host of Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue.” Educational opportunities continue throughout the week with panels of NATO members and distribution and/or vendor partners addressing timely topics including: automation and artificial intelligence; growing audiences for culturally diverse content; profitability of upgraded concessions/dine-in options; and green energy solutions. Thank you to these NATO members for sharing their expertise by participating in program panels and presentations: Irving Chee, Golden Screen Cinemas; David Corkill, Cinema West; Nicole Denson-Randolph, AMC Entertainment Inc.; Moctesuma Esparza, Maya Cinemas; Valmir Fernandes, Cinemark Intl.; Anne Fitzgerald, Cineplex Entertainment; Art Justice, Cinemark USA; Alejandro Ramírez Magaña, Cinépolis; Tim Richards, VUE International; Rolando Rodriguez, Marcus Theatres; and Damon Rubio, D’Place Entertainment.
Be sure not to miss the “Big Screen Achievement Awards” on Thursday evening honoring the best talent in the movie industry today and the After Party, sponsored by our friends at The Coca-Cola Company. I encourage you to participate to the fullest in all of the education and fun that CinemaCon 2019 has to offer!