love America. And I love American movies. I appreciate
how fortunate I am to work in a free country with such
an exciting industry. Occasionally, though, I encounter
circumstances that cause me to reflect upon the role America
and American entertainment play on the world stage. This
month I want to share some of those recent events. By reporting
some different perspectives, perhaps we can stimulate our
thinking and broaden our awareness.
spent some time working in Europe in December. (With
the Internet and cell phones, the global working office
has become a reality.) During that time, I was able to
meet with many of our colleagues who serve as trade association
executives for cinema operators in their own countries
in Europe. Once again, I was struck by the commonality
of concerns. We discussed exhibition’s work on
issues like digital cinema, piracy, cinema security,
regulation and other topics.
many previous trips abroad, however, I encountered some
new perspectives on this journey about the international
influence of the United States in general and the American
entertainment industry specifically.
Perhaps the timing of my trip produced this reaction.
With the United States pushing forward toward war with
many Europeans feel a bit nervous about the American
position. Like Americans, most Europeans believe that
is an evil leader who poses a threat to the region.
However, their approach tends toward negotiation and
of armed conflict at all cost. Many Europeans believe
that America is too quick to push for war.
generally demonstrate great kindness to individual Americans,
as was the case during my travels. (A particular
note of thanks to the French for the wonderful dinner
in Paris!) But when they think of us as a country
and a world
power, many Europeans are nervous about our influence
and our strategies.
international politics produced my macro observations,
the influence of our entertainment industry hit
me at the micro level at which I operate. In the cinemas,
streets, on the television and in the media, the
influence of the U.S. entertainment industry can
be seen everywhere.
films constitute 70 percent or more of box office revenues
in most jurisdictions.
American film marketing reaches all advertising
media in which it is allowed. American songs and music
videos maintain an equally influential position.
In response, local governments enact laws to
restrict advertising and promote their own entertainment
industries, usually with limited success.
the broad level of international relations, and the smaller
scale of public entertainment, the United
States has become the only true superpower in the world.
With that position comes responsibility.
We must undertake that responsibility carefully.
lessons can be learned? I’ll leave the politics to our leaders.
But for the entertainment industry, let’s consider our actions.
When we build cinemas overseas, let’s be mindful of local customs
and attitudes. Let’s respect the local film industry within the
confines of proper business decisions. Let’s unite with the domestic
exhibitors to set common goals vis-à-vis the local
our partners at the American studios, it’s hard
to argue with success. They have done very well abroad.
From a trade-balance perspective,
the entertainment industry has a very positive
impact on U.S. import/export ratios. But like exhibitors,
they can also strive to be more respectful
of local customs. In the content of movies,
in the manner in which they are marketed, and the timing
of their distribution, the studios can strengthen
their market shares as they improve their
synthesis with global realities. As our partners in international
distribution know, what works in the
United States does not necessarily work
overseas, either from a business perspective or for proper
century or two from now, I hope that the American influence
abroad will have
left a positive mark. May our government
encourage and facilitate peace and respect
for human rights everywhere. May our
industry spread positive messages while showing
respect for our hosts. And may we learn
to understand better the world stage on which