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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

ShoWest 2007 News: Opening Talks from the MPAA and NATO

ShoWest officially opened yesterday in Las Vegas, with speeches from NATO head John Fithian and MPAA head Dan Glickman. The mood seems pretty bouyant, according to the Variety and Hollywood Reporter coverage. Everyone's jazzed about this summer's releases, which star pirates, Harry Potter, Shrek, Danny Ocean, and Spider-man. At the opening session of ShoWest, Disney showed the audience a short trailer for the third 'Pirates' pic, and also a 12-minute segment from Pixar's 'Ratatoiulle,' which opens June 29th.

You can read the opening addresses from Fithian and Glickman (both are in PDF form.) The big themes were piracy and preserving the theatrical release window.

Fithian also noted that there are about 2300 screens now capable of digital projection in the US, and said the roll-out will "accelerate considerably" in 2008. He predicted that 2009 will be a "bellwether year" for 3-D projection.

Also, he said:

    It became fashionable during the downturn of 2005 to pit emerging technologies against the great American tradition of going to the movies, to see new technologies as some seismic shift in consumer preferences—and therefore to depict movie theatre operators as frightened by and hostile to new technologies. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, in so many ways, the exhibition industry is exciting and dynamic today precisely because of new technologies— and not only because we’re now embarking on the most technologically significant and sophisticated revolution in exhibition history with the advent of digital cinema. Our appreciation extends even to home technologies. A recent survey by Nielsen Entertainment confirms that consumers with many home technologies are actually more avid moviegoers than those with fewer home technologies.

Hmmm -- does that list of home technologies include YouTube and the Internet, John? I wonder....

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