Tag Archives: ShoWest

NATO Sets Dates For Inaugural CinemaCon

CinemaCon Poster.jpgIt’s hard to believe it’s been more than two years since the National Association Of Theatre Owners (NATO) announced they would be taking control of their annual trade show in 2011 when their contract expired with Nielsen Film Group. At ShoWest in March NATO made public the name of their new confab, Cinemacon. Now NATO has solidified the dates of the revamped convention, which will be held at March 28th to March 31st, 2011 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

ShoWest ran for 36 years and grew into one of the largest and most important annual events for motion picture exhibitors and distributors. NATO is planning for CinemaCon to take up the mantle of largest annual gathering of worldwide theatre owners and as such are moving the event across the Vegas strip from Bally’s and Paris Hotels to Caesars Palace.

The new venue will offer more modern facilities and is meant to accommodate the size of the trade show, especially when it comes to screening product reels and upcoming releases from big Hollywood studios. Such presentations will be held in The Colosseum, a 4,200 seat theatre usually reserved for the likes of Celine Dion and Elton John. NATO is expecting 5,000 attendees at the first CinemaCon.

Like ShoWest, NATO plans for CinemaCon to set the tone for the upcoming summer movie season and will fill the schedule with “sponsored events, seminars, trade show, screenings, product presentations and a gala award show”.

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MPAA’s Glickman, NATO’s Fithian Deliver Upbeat Industry Prognosis

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Dan Glickman and John Fithian at ShoWest

The National Association of Theatre Owners president, John Fithian, and the outgoing chairman of the Motion Picture Assn. of America, Dan Glickman, trumpeted 2009′s record breaking box office grosses as well as advances in piracy protection during their annual “State of the Industry” address at ShoWest on Tuesday. What seemed more important to everyone in attendance however was that the speech marked the last appearance by Glickman as the head of the MPAA.

Not that Glickman plans on disappearing entirely. As he put it moments before walking onstage to deliver his remarks, “It may not be my last time at ShoWest, hopefully it is not. John has promised to invite me every year, but it’s my last time in this job.” Glickman is leaving his post April 1st to take over as head of the non-profit organization Refugees International.

Of course, technically this will be the last time Glickman attends ShoWest since NATO will be taking the show over next year and changing its name to CinemaCon. Glickman may not have to worry about getting an invite though, for Fithian had nothing but kind words to say about him. “He really has contributed an amazing amount of leadership and support to this industry over the last six years, from intellectual property to the ratings system to opening up new markets oversees,” Fithian said of Glickman. He’s been just a terrific partner. . . he will be sorely missed by those of us in the movie business.”

Speaking of the movie business, it’s apparently doing quite well, at least theatrically. Fithian highlighted the USD $30 billion international box office gross earned in 2009 with USD $10.6 billion coming from North American, an increase of more than 10%. The NATO exec credits the ongoing theatrical success to advances in technology which have allowed for better presentations at modern luxury cinemas and the ease of purchasing tickets on mobile devices or online. Studios were also major contributors by spreading out their releases according to Fithian:

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NATO To Transform ShoWest Into CinemaCon

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On the first day of this year’s ShoWest, the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) has made it known that when they take back the event next year it will undergo a name change to CinemaCon. The logo being used for the annual convention of theatre owners and movie distributors can be seen above.

ShoWest (which is taking place in Las Vegas now through March 19th) was originally NATO’s annual trade show. The group still co-produces the event, however ten years ago they contracted with the Sunshine Group to actually organize and run it. Since then, the Sunshine Group was purchased by Nielsen Business Media who ran the conference as a for-profit endeavor. In 2008, NATO announced it would launch it’s own convention in 2011, once the contract for ShoWest expired. Since the ShoWest name is now owned by Nielsen, NATO had to come up with a different moniker.

In talking with NATO spokesman Patrick Corcoran about the new show he stated, “By running a new non-profit convention, NATO can provide greater value at lower costs to theater industry. Having a show run by and for the industry allows us to celebrate and promote moviegoing in a way that benefits the industry and our customers.”

NATO’s president, John Fithian, echoed Corcoran’s comments during a press conference held early Tuesday morning, just before his annual State of the Industry address:

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ShoWest Opens With Michael Lynton Keynote

Michael Lynton at ShoWest 2010

Michael Lynton at ShoWest 2010

The 2010 edition of ShoWest, the annual gathering of theatre owners and distributors, kicked off in Las Vegas earlier today with a keynote address from Michael Lynton. The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sony Pictures Entertainment had both junk and theatrical release windows on his mind, and not necessarily in that order.

After opening his remarks with some cheerleading over 2009′s record breaking box office returns, Lynton detailed why he believed the industry was doing so well in the midst of a deep recession:

“People battered by the recession see in movies reasonably priced escapism. It is the most affordable way to take a break, get out of the house, take the kids or get away from them and be transported to another world.”

Lynton pointed to the industry’s willingness and ability to change as being one of the prime factors for increased theatrical revenue over the past year. Despite economic, social and technologic challenges, he praised both exhibition and distribution’s willingness to find new ways to overcome challenges and prosper.

But Lynton wasn’t all smiles. He highlighted the increasing economic difficulties faced by studios this past year. At the height of the DVD boom in 2005 and 2006 57% of Sony’s revenues came from DVD rentals and another 43% came from DVD sell-through, but today, thanks in large part to the recession, that split is nearing a 75% – 25% split. Read More »

Setting The Record Straight On ShowEast

ShowEastLet’s face it, while mainstream media might be screaming about an economic recovery, times are still tough for many businesses all over the world. That is especially true for trade shows. No matter the industry focus, attendance at global conventions has dropped in 2009 by more than 25% in most cases. Just look at attendance at some of the annual confabs the motion picture industry holds; the Sundance Film Festival down 11%, ShoWest down 15%, NAB down 20%, the Cannes Film Festival down 30% and IBC in Amsterdam down at least 7%. That may be why at ShowEast, which was held in Orlando, Florida from October 26th to October 29th, the talk amongst delegates was as much about the trade show’s attendance as it was about 3-D, digital cinema and the upcoming blockbuster release “Avatar”.

While such conversation tends to feed on itself ultimately making mountains out of mole hills, Robert Sunshine, the Vice President of Nielsen Film Group which organizes the event, readily admits attendance at this year’s ShowEast, like most conventions around the world, was down roughly 20%. “It’s numbers that we don’t like to see,” said Sunshine. “We attribute it to the economy and we also attribute it to the fact that there are lots of [industry] conventions, there’s the major convention, ShoWest, and certain people don’t have the money to attend all of these shows so they are picking and choosing where they go.”

Another factor Sunshine might not be considering is that digital cinema is maturing, growing out of its infancy and into adolescence. The technology is responsible for one of the greatest, if not most disruptive, transitions the motion picture exhibition industry has ever seen. By now, there has been some shakeout in the number of companies who entered the digital cinema space, and those that remain are naturally looking to augment their marketing plans. This is a common trend in emerging markets and industries, though unfortunately this phenomena is taking place in digital cinema during a record setting recession.

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NATO Nabs Mitch Neuhauser For Trade Show

nato-logoEver since March of 2008 when the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) announced that they would be holding their own trade show in 2011 just before NAB the question has been, who will the organization get to put the event together.  Speculation was that Bob and Andrew Sunshine who have been producing NATO’s official trade show, ShoWest, since 2001.   After all, the Sunshine’s, who originally started out as the Sunshine Group Worldwide before being sold to Nielsen, have tons of experience organizing annual exhibitor conferences such as ShowEast, Cinema Expo and CineAsia.

Such a guess would not have been far off given that earlier today NATO announced they had hired Mitch Neuhauser to be the Show Manager of their official trade show, the first of which will be held in March of 2011.  Presently, Neuhauser works with the Sunshines as Vice President of Nielsen Film Group.  He is also already involved with NATO in some capacity as the assistant executive director of NATO of New York.

If you’ve ever been to any of the four trade shows Nielsen holds for exhibitors and distributors each year than you definitely know who Neuhauser is.  Read More »

Oh Dear, New York Times Not Impressed By ShoWest

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Don’t take our word for it, the New York Times has taken a long hard look at ShoWest and noted that it is not what it used to be. In fairness to both NYT and ShoWest the article’s author Brook Barnes does an admirable job of giving a balanced portrait of a complex relationship between studios, exhibitors, vendors and the organisers of the event. It is worth reading the whole piece to get a proper overview, but a flavour can be had from this bit:

…there are signs everywhere that the event’s once-infamous sizzle has been snuffed out. Gone are the trade show vendors handing out free hot dogs. Gone is the parade of megawatt stars. Gone are some attendees: the number of registered conventiongoers is 2,400, a 15 percent decline from last year.

Booth rentals are down by 5 percent, although Mr. Neuhauser emphasized that a number of first-time renters have made up for others who have left.

Universal issued a statement saying cost cutting was behind its decision. “We looked hard at conventions and felt it was necessary to cut in that area,” the statement read, in part.

While trimming their spending on ShoWest, some studios say they will remain loyal. “We’re not hosting an event that involves much pageantry or really any food,” said Jeff Blake, chairman of Sony Pictures’ worldwide marketing and distribution. “But we still see this as an important opportunity to let exhibitors know what we have coming.”

Nowhere is there any mention of the show being taken back by NATO in two years’ time. Nor are there any implications discussed for the likes of ShowEast (unlikely to survive without its bigger West Coast sibling), Cinema Expo (challenged by a new cinema trade show in Brussels), CineAsia (constantly moving and seemingly too small to last), though chances are that ShowCanada will survive because, well, why shouldn’t Canada have its own cinema show? Read More »

It Was A Very Good ShoWest 2009 For Sony

The popcorn has been swept away, the 3D movie banners folded, the quiet talk about how cinema is holding up in the recession has faded – ShoWest 2009 is over.

While VNU will continue to host the Las Vegas-set cinema trade show and exhibition for one more year before NATO is rumoured to take the show back (and move it to Ceasar’ Palace) in 2011, there was something of an End Credits roll feel to the confab. The number of attendees was down, the studios were (with two exceptions) largely absent, the parties scaled back and nowhere was there any open celebration of the fact that this year’s box office easily looks set to cross $10bn.

So who did well in this year’s conference? Digital Cinema? Old hat. 3D? Sure, “Monsters vs. Aliens” did well, but that was to be expected. Instead it would seem that ShoWest 2009 will go down as the year that Sony and its 4K SXRD technology took its decisive step into the limelight. No, it was not a case of audiences waking up and suddenly finding 2K resolution inadequate and demanding 4K, as Sony still hasn’t figured out how to create a pixel-fetish driven demand amongst cinema goers (free hint: don’t call it ’4K’ – call it an ’8 megapixel projector’ versus DLP’s ’2 megapixel’ – sure, it’s not correct, but since when did that stand in the way of aggressive marketing?).

No, it was three interlinked announcement that helped crown Sony Electronics (not SPE – Sony Pictures Entertainment) the unofficial King of the ShoWest hill. Read More »

Heavyweights Debate Self-Financing Of Digital Rollout At ShoWest

Panel members (from left) George Solomon, Julian Levin, Mark Christiansen and G. Kendrick Macdowell

(From left) G. Solomon, J. Levin, M. Christiansen and G. K. Macdowell

Las Vegas is a city known for its many spectacles; bright lights, showgirls, casinos, fancy restaurants and prize fights are all just some of the attractions.  So, it should come as no surprise that ShoWest, the annual gathering of motion picture exhibitors and distributors in Las Vegas, decided to add to the city’s attractions with their own version of a prize fight.  On Wednesday, the convention held a lunchtime panel discussion titled “Show Me The Money! Does Digital Self-Financing During A Credit Crisis Offer Hope?”.  One might ordinarily expect a panel discussion on financing to be incredibly dry, though whenever you mix senior level studio executives with independent theatre owners and raise the topic of the stalled digital cinema rollout, you are bound to see some sparks fly.

No doubt the ShoWest panel was put together in the wake of Paramount Pictures’ direct-to-exhibitor virtual print fee announcement.  Indeed, Mark Christiansen, Paramount’s Executive Vice President of Operations was one of the panel members.  He was joined by Julian Levin, EVP of Digital Exhibition and Non-Theatrical Sales & Exhibition at Twentieth Century Fox, Bill Campbell, Managing Director of the Cinema Buying Group, George Solomon, Southern Theatres CEO and Andrew Sriubas, a Managing Director of JP Morgan Investment Bank.  Moderating the brouhaha was the general counsel for the National Association of Theatre Owners, G. Kendrick Macdowell.

Christiansen started off by explaining that Paramount had a lot of exhibitors asking if they could install digital cinema equipment on their own, rather than rely on integrators to do so.  Paramount was able to capitalize on their existing relationship with theatre owners to put the direct-to-exhibitor virtual print fee agreement together.  Since the 21-page document was  made public in January, the industry has been combing over it in search of any detail that might be missing.  Christiansen doesn’t think they’ll find much. Read More »

Top Execs Ponder Industry’s Future At ShoWest Panel

ShoWest 2009 - Industry Confronts Its Future Panel MembersThe first day of ShoWest has historically been held as an international day where exhibitors from around the world can attend panels that cover issues and topics that relate directly to their markets.  In an attempt to bring attendees in a day earlier this year, ShoWest did away with “International Day” and instead jumped right into the convention with a lunchtime keynote address from Jim Gianopoulos, Chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment followed by a panel discussion on current trends in the exhibition industry.

Sitting on the panel, entitled “How To Stay Ahead of the Curve as the Industry Confronts Its Future”, was Rory Bruer, President of Worldwide Distribution at Sony Pictures, Andrew Cripps, President of Paramount Pictures International, Dan Harkins, CEO of Harkins Theatres, Paul Heth, President and General Director of Rising Star Media, Lee Roy Mitchell, the Chairman of Cinemark and Tim Richards, CEO and President of Vue EntertainmentJeffrey Katzenberg, Chairman of Dreamworks Animation, decided to join in on the panel after addressing those gathered to thank them for the huge opening of his studio’s 3D feature “Monsters vs. Aliens”.  Though many of these guests are panel regulars at such conferences, the mixture of exhibitors and distributors at such discussions usually makes for a an interesting hour.  Monday’s panel, moderated by Hollywood Reporter editor Elizabeth Guider, was no exception.

The first topic that Guider brought up was, not surprisingly, the increase in box office grosses.  Read More »