Welcome to CinemaCon 2016

Welcome to the sixth annual CinemaCon convention at Caesars Palace! The NATO and CinemaCon teams, consisting of staff and dedicated member-volunteers, are proud of what we have in store for you. From the exciting studio product presentations (nine different companies in an all-time record) to the sold-out trade floor and demonstration suites, and from the educational programming to the networking and the socializing, you’ll have a very busy and productive week. Hope you brought some comfortable shoes!

During the week NATO will be joined by our friends at the Motion Picture Association of America to discuss the state of our business. Yes, 2015 box office receipts broke records with $11.1 billion domestically and nearly $39 billion globally. And now the first quarter of 2016 has been off to a strong start, proving that good movies can work any time of the year. During the week we will analyze the numbers further. Those numbers demonstrate that good movies and a great cinema-going experience can continue to grow our business.

The presence of nine significant production/distribution companies at CinemaCon 2016 demonstrates confidence in the coming film slate. Looking at the calendar for the rest of 2016, and through 2017 too, we see good movies in diverse genres, appealing to different demographics, in all 12 months of both years.

To support the coming movie slate, exhibitors are working hard and spending capital to provide the best moviegoing experience possible. On the trade floor and throughout the convention, we will be talking about luxury seating, delicious food and beverage options, and wonderful technologies for sight and sound.

Be sure not to miss the Big Screen Achievement Awards show on Thursday evening, honoring the best talent in the movie industry today, and the Gala Poolside Party that follows it, sponsored by our great friends at the Coca-Cola Company. Coca-Cola has been with us since the beginning, and we appreciate their support.

The success of CinemaCon depends on the hard work and input of many individuals and organizations. I’d like to applaud a few individuals who have made extraordinary contributions this year. This sixth annual CinemaCon convention would not be possible without the leadership of NATO Conventions Committee Co-Chairmen Rob Del Moro, Regal Entertainment Group, and Steve Zuehlke, Cinemark USA, and committee members Bob Bagby, B&B Theatres; Byron Berkley, Foothills Entertainment Co.; John McDonald, AMC Entertainment; and Miguel Rivera, Cinépolis. The Conventions Task Force works closely with NATO’s professional convention staff Mitch Neuhauser, Managing Director; Matt Pollock, Associate Convention Director; Matt Shapiro, Operations Manager; and Cynthia Schuler, Office Manager and Bookkeeper. We have an excellent professional convention team, I believe. A debt of gratitude, too, goes to NATO’s officers: Chairman John D. Loeks, Celebration! Cinema; Vice Chairwoman Amy Miles, Regal Entertainment Group; Secretary Jeff Logan, Logan Luxury Theatres Corp.; and Treasurer Byron Berkley, Foothills Entertainment Co., and to all NATO Executive Board members who have been so supportive of the convention. The officers and Board members volunteer a great deal of time to lead and improve an industry they love, while running important exhibition companies at the same time!

Earlier in this column I mentioned the exciting trade floor at CinemaCon. NATO is grateful to Mike Archer and the International Cinema Technology Association (ICTA), and to Terry Conlon and the National Association of Concessionaires (NAC) for their support. The CinemaCon schedule also includes educational sessions, which are highly valued by attendees. NATO would like to thank the following members for sharing their knowledge and experience by participating in the programming: Jon Barrenechea, Picturehouse Cinemas; Jan Bernhardsson, Nordic Cinema Group; Jennifer Douglass, AMC Entertainment; Bret Kim, CGV; John D. Loeks, Cameron Mitchell, VOX Cinemas; Alejandro Ramirez Magaña, Bernardo Rugama, Cinépolis; George Sautter, Cineplex Entertainment; Ian Shepherd, Odeon & UCI Holdings; Amber Stepper, National Amusements; and Don Watson, Movie Tavern.

CinemaCon is a great place to recognize outstanding NATO member-leaders as they are surrounded by industry colleagues and friends. This year, Mooky Greidinger, Cineworld Group PLC, will receive the Global Achievement Award in Exhibition; and David Passman, Carmike Cinemas, will receive NATO’s Marquee Award.

I am particularly pleased that we can honor David this year. David has served on NATO’s Executive Board for six years, where he recently concluded two terms as chairman. His vision and leadership won him the respect of NATO members—major circuits and smaller independents alike. And I guess you could say that the great work David has done with Carmike helped lead to one of the largest acquisition offers in the history of the domestic exhibition industry!

I encourage you to participate to the fullest in all that CinemaCon has to offer. Mitch and I always want your feedback, so let us know what you think!

Enjoy the show!

John Fithian

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