In typical “let them eat cake” fashion, most of the Hollywood CEOs arriving in Washington DC did so by private jets a day before Earth Day. Underway today is the Motion Picture Association Of America’s dog-and-pony show called the Business of Show Business, a day-long symposium focusing on “American Creativity at Work” featuring panels and speakers to supposedly highlight the impact of movie and television production and distribution on the U.S. economy. Participants include a mix of Congressmen, Industry suits, and film commission reps for panel discussions covering like the economic benefits of on-location production, the diversity of jobs off-camera, and the latest technological developments in moviemaking, including a 3D presentation.
The symposium was supposed to “spotlight the role of American workers in the motion picture and television industries” — but then that was soft-peddled in the propaganda put out by the MPAA. Because the studios only know how to exploit showbiz workers and shut down creativity while they act as a cartel to bully the Guilds in the entertainment industry. They should be embarrassed to show their faces at a mockery like this — but they’re not.
Instead, the moguls are using this confab as an opportunity for face time with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Reps. Henry Waxman and John Conyers, and other congressional committee heads to talk about piracy and employment. They’ll board a bus for the meetings on Capitol Hill. But the Hollywood CEOs won’t be addressing the symposium directly. Dick Cook, chairman of the Walt Disney Studios, will introduce Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson at today’s luncheon. And Paramount Chairman/CEO Brad Grey will intro Marty Scorsese at tonight’s dinner. (The director is receiving the Jack Valenti Humanitarian Award). The other execs are Fox Filmed Entertainment chairman/CEO Jim Gianopulos, Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman/CEO Michael Lynton and Vice Chairman Jeff Blake, Universal Studios President/COO Ron Meyer, and Universal Pictures Vice Chairman Rick Finkelstein, and Warner Bros Entertainment Chairman/CEO Barry Meyer.
In the morning, the MPAA released what it claimed was a new report detailing the economic impact of the motion picture and television industry. Here’s what it said:
WASHINGTON, DC – The motion picture and television production industry paid more than $40 billion in wages and $38 billion to vendors throughout the United States in 2007, according to a new report released today by the Motion Picture Association of America.
The report, the Economic Impact of the Motion Picture and Television Industry on the United States, provides a snapshot of economic impact and job creation derived from production and distribution of film and television entertainment.
“People don’t think of the business of making movies the same way they think of other American businesses such as manufacturers or large retailers. However, our industry in many ways is just like every other – we employ millions of people, we create jobs all across America, and yes, we too feel the sting of declining economic times,” said Dan Glickman, MPAA Chairman and CEO. “But just as you have to look beyond the images you see on the silver screen to fully appreciate the hundreds of working men and women that go into making a single 20-second scene from your favorite movie, if you look deeply at how movies are made you will see that there is also much to consider and, indeed, celebrate about the contributions of this uniquely American industry to our economy.”
The industry itself comprises 115,000 businesses in all 50 states. More than 80 percent of these businesses are truly small businesses, employing fewer than 10 people.
Among the top-line findings from the report, which is based on 2007 data, the most recent year complete data is available, the motion picture and television industry was responsible for:
— 2.5 million American jobs;
— an average salary of $74,700 for production employees;
— $41.1 billion in wages to workers in America;
— $38.2 billion in payments to U.S. vendors and suppliers, small businesses and entrepreneurs;
— $13 billion in income and sales taxes; and
— $13.6 billion in trade surplus.