In his annual address last week to the CinemaCon 2018 opening day audience, John Fithian, president and CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners, gave a speech laced with familiar, and historically sound, themes: good movies drive people to theatres and good movies need to be seen on the big screen. Yes, there are months when box office numbers are down but those are dramatically offset by months where people of all ages fill the seats for the newest big movie. Yes, there are, and always will be, competition for moviegoers’ time and attention, but nothing will ever replace the big screen experience. Period.
The motion picture industry convenes April 22-26 at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas for the sixth edition of CinemaCon. Vegas has always struck me as the perfect place for the National Association of Theatre Owners to holds its annual convention because the movie business itself is a gamble: for every movie that wins big there are too many others that don’t. Meanwhile, in a world of ever-increasing competition, exhibitors have to find enough steady customers to maintain and, ideally, grow their business. Then there is technology. Today most of the movie theatres in the world operate on a digital platform, which means that a Pandora’s box of technology enhancements are there for the taking. There are a wide range of choices that can boost movie theatre attendance, productivity and profitability. But which ones are right for your theatre? Choosing the right technology and, paying for it, is the challenge. Success requires understanding the opportunities.