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ShoWest gets new sponsors

Pyrotechnics and 'Godzilla' preview

DreamWorks and Miramax will for the first time sponsor events at this year’s ShoWest, joining returning studios New Line and Sony in hosting presentations at the annual exhibition confab in Las Vegas.

Registration for the convention, which takes place March 9-12 at the Bally’s Hotel, is capped at 3,400 delegates for a fourth straight year, according to organizers.

As usual, ShoWest will kick off with International Day, which this year begins with panels on the state of global exhibition with a particular emphasis on the hot-button issue of industry consolidation.

Buena Vista Intl. will sponsor Monday’s luncheon, at which Jerry Bruckheimer is to receive the Intl. Boxoffice Achievement Award. Later that afternoon, Columbia TriStar Intl. will host a reception and program for international delegates.

At 6 p.m., the first ShoWest Showcase, An Evening of Independent Film, begins.

Four new indies

Four new full-length indie features, chosen by an exhibitor committee chaired by Landmark’s Steve Gilula, will be screened. A reception, hosted by 12 independent distributors, will be held between screenings. All delegates are invited.

Day 2 of ShoWest starts with the Kodak breakfast presentation “Let There Be Light,” focusing on the issue of proper screen illumination.

Following breakfast, NATO president William Kartozian and MPAA chairman Jack Valenti will give their annual “State of the Industry” addresses, and Warner Bros. distribution president will receive the ShoWester of the Year Award.

The In-Theatre Marketing and Customer Service Awards, which honor theater managers, also will be announced.

Tuesday’s luncheon will be sponsored by Sony Pictures. The studio will endeavor to top last year’s presentation, at which it wowed exhibitors with a star-studded dais, product reel and live pyrotechnics — not to mention “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek.

Sony sets Tuesday lunch

Sony, which is coming off a record-breaking year at the box office, will offer a glimpse at its 1998 lineup, including “Godzilla,” “The Mask of Zorro” and TriStar’s untitled Chris Columbus-helmed comedy, formerly known as “Stepmom.”

March 10 also marks the first day of the ShoWest Trade Show, which this year will boast more than 500 booths, an increase of nearly 25% over last year. To accommodate the additional vendors, the trade show will for the first time be held in two adjacent pavilions in the Bally’s Hotel parking lot.

That evening, DreamWorks will bus delegates to an off-site presentation that it has dubbed ShoWorks. The event will consist of a brief product-reel screening at the United Artists Showcase theater, followed by a gourmet dinner and game-playing at the nearby GameWorks.

Following the DreamWorks event, AC Nielsen EDI will host a dessert party with live musical entertainment back at Bally’s.

On March 11, the activities begin with a Nestle-hosted breakfast and a National Assn. of Concessionaires seminar on maximizing human resources. The day’s second program will address the issue of consolidation in the domestic exhibition industry.

New Line Cinema, making its fifth consecutive ShoWest appearance, will host the Wednesday lunch. Afternoon workshops include one on how to convert an older theater to stadium seating without rebuilding.

On Wednesday evening, Pepsi-Cola will host a dance party followed by a major studio sneak preview, to be announced at the convention.

Insurance company Reynolds & Reynolds will sponsor breakfast on March 12, at which ShoWest’s industry awards will be presented, followed by the Exhibitor Relations open house.

Miramax will host Thursday’s midday event, a showreel presentation followed by lunch.

The event closes with the ShoWest Awards followed by the Coca-Cola closing banquet.

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