Dick Cook honored as Pioneer of the Year

Former Disney chair to be feted at first CinemaCon

The Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers will fete former Walt Disney Studios chair Dick Cook during the inaugural edition of CinemaCon, the exhibition confab hosted by the National Assn. of Theater Owners.

CinemaCon — the new version of the former ShoWest — runs March 28-31 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Cook will receive the 2011 Pioneer of the Year award during a gala dinner on March 30.

The decision by NATO and Will Rogers to partner in honoring Cook was made in a show of industry unity.

“From the outset, NATO’s main objective for CinemaCon was to create an event about, and for, the entire industry. Our partnership with Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation demonstrates our commitment to that important goal,” NATO prexy-CEO John Fithian said.

“The most exciting aspect, of course, is having Dick Cook as the honoree of our first joint effort. Exhibitors have held Dick in the highest regard throughout his illustrious career,” Fithian continued.

During Cook’s tenure at the top of Disney Studios, the Mouse House released 60 films that grossed north of $100 domestically, a rare feat.

Paramount vice chair Rob Moore was this year’s Pioneer of the Year.