The 4.7% increase in Q1 admissions and 7.2% uptick in box office shows that it pays to have family friendly films in the early months, NATO‘s John Fithian told exhibition execs at the opening session for the CinemaCon confab. But it’s not enough. “We have a need for more family friendly, quality movies,” he says noting that four hit the top 10 last year vs two the year before leading to a spurt in attendance by kids 11 and under. Fithian adds that “we could sell even more [tickets] if they were spread out…We could still use more calendar diversity.” He also cheered the growth of films featuring diversity in their leading actors, and in the audiences that they target. That’s becoming especially important now that major studios are “shooting for the globe but releasing fewer titles.” But Fithian says he’s encouraged to see Lionsgate rise “to major studio status” while new productions come from the exhibition-backed Open Road, and a new venture led by Bob Simonds. “We will have the titles we need to continue our box office growth,” the NATO chief says.
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