This week, the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) convenes in Las Vegas for the organization’s yearly meeting/trade show/schmooze fest, Cinema Con. Eighty-two years ago, one of NATO’s predecessors, The Motion Picture Theatre Owners of America, came together at Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre, for the day’s premiere industry convention.
While separated by some nine decades, there stands an interesting parallel between the two conventions. Back in 1931, the exhibition industry had reached a point of finality in the conversion from silent pictures to “talkies”; sound was no longer a burgeoning technology or novelty, but a necessity for survival. Move forward to 2013 and the industry has once again reached a technological gate, with digital projection. Be it at Grauman’s Egyptian in 1931 or Caesar’s Palace in 2013, the conventions mark a similar “last chance” ultimatum for those exhibitors who hadn’t/haven’t changed with the times.
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