MPAA chief Chris Dodd delivered his first public address today at the CinemaCon convention in Las Vegas, delivering a tough message about fighting piracy and working for legislation to crack down on so-called “rogue” websites. He also tried to assure that, “No matter how our industry evolves, I want you all to know that I believe there’s no better place to see a movie than in a theater.” There’s been friction between some of the MPAA’s member studios and theater chains concerned about the availability of movies so quickly after their release in theaters. He also spokes about the need to open international markets, first and foremost being China where studios are faced with annual quotas on outside product. Variety’s Andrew Stewart and Josh Dickey are there with more details.
They write, “Dodd did show off his kinetic oratory style, first with a reverent homage to the cultural significance of the moviegoing experience, then with the bluster of a seasoned political fighter as he made clear that battling piracy would be his pet issue.
“”I am deeply concerned that too many people see movie theft as a victimless crime,” Dodd said. “How much economic damage could there be to some rich studio executive or Hollywood star if a movie is stolen? … It is critical that we aggressively educate people to understand that movie theft is not just a Hollywood problem, it is an American problem.””
Arts Advocacy: April 5 will mark what D.C’s arts lobby calls “Arts Advocacy Day,” a push to ensure federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, which will battle for their budgets in the face of draconian budget cuts. Those scheduled to testify before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior include Alec Baldwin; Kevin Spacey: Edgar Smith, CEO of World PAC Paper; Robert Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts; and Burnsville, Minn., mayor Elizabeth Kautz. That day, Americans for the Arts also will present its 2011 National Award for Congressional Arts Leadership to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)
Clooney May Be Called: George Clooney and his girlfriend Elisabetta Canalis may be called to testify in Italian prime nminister Silvio Berlusconi’s trial over allegations that he paid for sex with an underage girl. The teenager is said to have seen Clooney at one of Berlusconi’s parties, although the actor reportedly denied being there. (NPR)
Wal-Mart Case: Los Angeles attorney Theodore Boutrous, part of the legal team seeking to overturn Prop 8, today argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Wal-Mart in its defense against an employment discrimination case. (Los Angeles Times)