WRITETHRU, 10:51 AM: MPAA chairman and CEO Chris Dodd today made his fifth keynote address at CinemaCon and got rousing applause as he heralded the 2015 box office year: $38.3B worldwide and $11.1bB domestic.

“I’m proud to say that the state of our industry has never been stronger,” the former U.S. senator told the crowd at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. “To paraphrase Mark Twain, the death of the movies has been greatly exaggerated.”

cinemacon-2016-floorDodd praised filmmakers for continually one-upping the cinematic experience as well as exhibitors with improved screens, sound and “vibration and mist” — a reference to such cinema formats as 4DX.

The MPAA chief mentioned that a recent study showed that piracy is still a concern, noting that the box office would be $1.5B higher if there was less theft.

He also addressed the issues of diversity. “We could do a better job,” Dodd said. He added that was hopeful for more progress, pointing out how the film industry always has been at the forefront on important issues with breakthrough movies including Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, which focused on racism; Boys Don’t Cry, which tackled LGBT issues; and The Gentleman’s Agreement, which dealt with anti-Semitism.

Following Dodd, NATO chairmain John Fithian also emphasized the message of diversity, giving a shout-out to Universal’s Furious 7. “The more diverse the movie in casting, the more the world goes to the movies.” He also cited that Caucasians made up only 40% of the pic’s stateside ticket sales.