Las Vegas, NV – Dan Glickman delivered his final major U.S. address as Chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) today at the ShoWest convention in Las Vegas. Citing a record box office and his tenure in a period of profound transformation, Glickman said “I got my Hollywood ending,” adding that “if I could leave this community with one piece of advice it is never forget our power to change people’s lives and, in doing so, to change the world.”
Glickman began by touting recent news that the 2009 box office saw a return to growth in U.S. admissions, reversing a two-year trend. “We have more people going to the movies and more folks going more often,” Glickman said. “The quality and diversity of films is what keeps folks coming back. Add this powerful new 3D era, and I predict the best is yet to come at the box office.”
Reflecting on his time at the MPAA, Glickman touched on four defining areas:
- Globalization: He discussed the transformation of the MPAA into a truly global organization, fueled by both the growing importance of international markets and the rising challenge of protecting intellectual property rights around the world. Noting that the global box office has soared 30% since 2005, Glickman pointed out that movies are among the only American exports with a positive balance of trade around the world.
- Technology: Glickman heralded the new era of 3-D and what it is doing to bring more people back to the theater. He also spoke openly of the challenge of racing to adapt to a fast-moving digital age and predicted that “technology will help resolve these issues in a balanced and fair way, while opening new opportunities for creators to share their works with the world.”
- Content Protection: Glickman spoke with pride about a unique creative community that supports more than 2.4 million American jobs. He noted that “’Hollywood’ can be found in every state in our union today,” and pointed to the passage of the Pro-IP Act in Washington, camcording laws in more than 40 states and growing global consensus as laying a strong foundation for protecting intellectual property at the dawn of the digital age.
- Ratings: He spoke passionately about the enduring value of the ratings system as a valued tool for parents. He also urged the industry to welcome the diverse voices joining online conversations on film content. “We’ll never find a bright white line at the intersection of free speech, creative and political expression and how parents raise their kids,” Glickman said. “We should continue to examine ways to keep the system relevant and contemporary.”
In his speech, Glickman announced the relaunch of www.filmratings.com. “We’re hoping this will provide some added transparency, shining a light on how the process works and promoting better understanding of the lesser-known, but equally important Advertising Administration, which strives to ensure every piece of movie advertising is appropriate for the audiences that see it.”
Glickman was candid about the fact that some viewed him as an unusual choice for MPAA given his background as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. “Joe Hollywood, I’m not,” he said. “I’m just a guy from Kansas who has loved movies since I was a kid, who has a genuine affection for this art form and a real appreciation for what movies do for this country and, I truly believe, for the world.”
A vocal proponent of American movies and their “soft power” to promote freedom and democracy around the world, Glickman said, “I didn’t come to this job from the industry. But I leave it believing quite strongly that this community is not something separate and apart from America, but something inextricably tied up in what America means to the world.” He pointed to recent Oscar contenders and the creative community’s real-world response to the crisis in Haiti to make his case.
Glickman came to the MPAA after a career that spanned Congress, the U.S. Cabinet and Harvard University. He said the common thread through it all has been “working to encourage our nation to engage the world.” He begins his new job as president of Refugees International in April.
“Movies will always be my first love,” he said. “But now I get to follow my heart back into public service.” In a nod to his audience, Glickman, a lifelong fan of the communal experience of the movie theater, concluded by saying, “I won’t say goodbye — just ‘see you at the movies.’ ”