Ceasars Palace

The movie confab in Vegas broadens its scope with more international reps in attendance

Three years old now the National Assn. of Theater Owners’ annual exhibitor conference, CinemaCon, has found its groove, though a rapidly evolving international market keeps the confab on point.

CinemaCon’s managing director Mitch Neuhauser says there’s a growing international presence at the event, with a year-over-year increase in registration during the opening Intl. Day. “We had about 800 fully registered delegates (that day) during the first year,” says Neuhauser. “It increased in 2012, and it’s happening again.”

Neuhauser estimates overall attendance, at around 2,330 delegates, will grow with last-minute applicants.
The increased focus on overseas markets at the conference is felt by the studios as well.

“Originally, CinemaCon and ShoWest were very much domestic conferences,” says Warner Bros. Intl. distribution prexy Veronika Kwan Vandenberg. “It’s become more of the norm that many international representatives are there from the major exhibitors. We’ve had more meetings over the years as the conference has broadened its scope.”

Those one-on-one meetings, which occur behind closed doors in the many comfortable suites of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, remain one of the biggest reasons studio execs and exhibitors travel to CinemaCon. But aside from the valuable face-time opportunity, attendees, especially exhibitors, like to see what product the industry as a whole has to offer.

“This is about exciting the industry and the entire world,” Neuhauser says.

This year, for the first time ever, all six majors plus Lionsgate will showcase slate presentations in Caesars Colosseum. In addition to the product sizzle reels, the confab is screening four feature films. And it’s another sell-out year on the tradeshow floor where companies demonstrate their latest gadgets and goodies.

Neuhauser says he is particularly happy with how the directors forum has grown. Last year set the bar high with Martin Scorsese and Ang Lee; this year’s forum spotlights Guillermo del Toro, Oliver Stone and Sam Raimi.

The confab also featured during its Intl. Day a panel discussion devoted entirely to business in China.
“One of the comments we get is that our schedule is too packed that they can’t schedule their meetings,” Neuhauser says. “My goal is to put together with my team the best possible show, and if people have to pick and choose, that’s their thing.”

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