What NATO Is

The National Association of Theatre Owners is the largest exhibition trade organization in the world, representing over 30,000 movie screens in all 50 states, and additional cinemas in 88 countries worldwide.

What NATO Does

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., with a second office in Los Angeles, California, NATO represents its members in the heart of the nation’s capital as well as the center of the entertainment industry. From these vantage points, NATO helps exhibition influence federal policy-making and work with movie distributors on all areas of mutual concern, from new technologies to legislation, marketing, and First Amendment issues.

Advocacy and Initiatives

NATO is ever watchful for opportunities to advance and protect the motion picture exhibition industry.  The Association has numerous initiatives underway that address key issues for exhibitors, everything from cinema technologies to movie theft.  Ongoing NATO programs help exhibitors understand and utilize cinema technologies, tackle government relations challenges and fight movie theft.  NATO also supports exhibitors’ efforts to enforce the voluntary ratings system, and to preserve the theatrical release window.  NATO’s newest initiatives are in the marketing arena, exploring exciting new ways to attract patrons to the cinema experience. Click here to learn more about NATO’s initiatives.

Patron Education and Employee Training

We have distributed materials and training tapes to our members to assist them in their enforcement efforts.  The rating system is a shared responsibility between the entertainment industry and America’s parents.  Advertisements for movies with adult content should not be targeted to children.  NATO believes that parents must be informed in order to make responsible decisions. Click here to learn more about NATO’s patron education materials and click here to learn more about NATO’s employee training materials.


Our membership includes the largest cinema chains in the world and hundreds of independent theater owners too. Find out how you can be a part of our exciting organization today!  Click here to learn more about NATO’s membership.