We were lucky enough to have Charles H. Rivkin, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association provide us with a special message for our #CJCinemaSummit on December 17, 2020. Below is the transcript of Mr. Rivkin’s message:
I want to thank CJ Summit cohosts Patrick and Sperling for that introduction and for inviting me to speak.
Webinars like this are so important. They allow us to share valuable news and information, celebrate our goodwill, and find ways to support our common interests as members of this exciting and creative global ecosystem, from cinema operators to distributors to company executives to directors.
I can’t emphasize this enough. We speak about numbers and statistics in our industry all the time. But we are real people, working in production, distribution, exhibition, and entertainment journalism. And in this extended family, everyone brings a unique value. For any of us to function, all of us need to function. All of us are working to put food on the table for our families.
All of us are contributing to economies everywhere. All are creating jobs. All are supporting businesses. And we are all bringing real joy into peoples’ lives the world over, particularly during this unprecedented global pandemic.
Of course, COVID 19 has had devastating effect on businesses, jobs, and livelihoods, from Los Angeles to London to Lucknow, with a devastating impact.
Let me share some numbers for the American film and television industry. About 465,000 film and television jobs have been put at risk. Roughly 400 fewer film and television productions than were expected this year, a cut of about 50%. Movie theaters impacted significantly. And theater revenues down 90%.
Fortunately, one of our greatest assets is our creativity.
Not only in the stories we create, but in the partnerships that we strike, the initiatives we come up with, and the important connections we make—within the industry and also in our interactions with policy makers.
In the past year, the American film and TV industry has come together to donate more than a billion dollars to hardship relief funds. We have made educational and entertainment materials available to parents and teachers. We have delivered PPE and other direct aid to healthcare providers and first responders.
We also convened an industry wide, labor-management working group, to establish protocols to minimize the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19 as productions resume. We shared these protocols with all 50 governors in the United States. They were well received, widely praised, and in fact, many of them were even adopted by other industries.
The MPA has also worked with State and national governments, as well as stakeholders around the world to support stimulus programs, share market knowledge, and increase capacity.
As this pandemic has also made clear, piracy continues to be an existential threat. Criminals are reaping enormous profits by stealing from the hard-working men and women of our industry. Just three short years after forming ACE, the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment we are now the world’s leading coalition dedicated to reducing piracy, protecting the legal marketplace for creative content, and ensuring this industry continues to thrive.
As the science fiction author William Gibson famously said, “the future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed.” The fact is, a better future is here, and we are seeing positive signs of our collective creativity, our resilience, and our good faith in one another.
Cinema owners, for example, have been very creative. Many have run campaigns and incentives to encourage audiences back into the cinema, from discount tickets in Hong Kong, to a “zero-contact” initiative in South Korea. And as the CJCinemaSummit notes on its website, cinemas have hosted private screenings, and even gaming sessions, for families and small groups.
What this all tells me is, the love of movies – and movies on the big screen – will never leave us. As a child, I grew up watching movies on the big screen, and I made sure that my own children enjoyed that experience too. I was encouraged to read one of my favorite movie critics in the Washington Post recently write that her teenage children can’t wait to get out of the house and back into the movie theater with friends.
I know, across the world, young audiences can’t wait to do the same.
This industry will always thrive because people will always need stories. They need escape. They need entertainment. I have no doubt those days – or perhaps more accurately, those evenings – are coming back soon. And I have no doubt in the energy, the innovation, and the belief that you will bring to this great industry, to make it so.