EXCLUSIVE: The Motion Picture Association posted a $4.2 million deficit in 2020, as the trade association adjusted to its traditional six-member roster, according to the latest tax filing with the Internal Revenue Service.
The loss is a contrast to 2019, when the trade association reported a $4.4 million surplus. Netflix was in its first full year as a member, but Fox Corp., which shed its film studio assets to Disney in 2018, still had an obligation to continue paying dues into the next year after it gave notice, according to a spokesperson.
Membership dues for 2020 were $51.4 million, compared to $62 million a year earlier, when there were essentially seven paying members. The MPA’s members are Warner Bros, Walt Disney, Sony Pictures, Netflix, Paramount and Universal.
As a 501(c)6 nonprofit, the MPA and other trade associations are required to make public filings with the IRS each year, listing such things as revenue, salaries and contributions to other organizations and political committees.
The compensation for Charles Rivkin, the chairman and CEO of MPA, rose to $3.2 million, from $3.1 million a year earlier. The compensation includes about $2 million in salary and $1.2 million in bonus and incentives.
Overall, revenue to the MPA was $62.9 million, from $74.4 million a year earlier. Total expenses fell to $67 million, from $70 million a year earlier. Investment income dipped to $259,764, from $620,958 the prior year.
The MPA previously reported a deficit in 2013, in what was attributed to accounting fluctuations.
The pandemic forced exhibitors to shut down across the country, as studios pulled back on their release schedules. Yet the MPA’s revenue from fees collected for its film-rating service remained steady at $4.3 million. The MPA’s Classification and Ratings Administration rated 497 films in 2020, compared to 488 a year earlier. The number of theatrical released plunged, but CARA continued to rate films for streaming.
As it has in years past, the MPA continued to contribute to both parties. That included $25,000 to the Republican State Leadership Committee and $10,000 to the Democratic Governors Association. It also included $5,000 to Andrew Cuomo’s campaign committee, made before he was faced with an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and eventually resigned.
The MPA also gave out grants to a long list of foundations and nonprofits, including $1 million to Carnegie Mellon University. The university created the Initiative for Digital Entertainment Analytics, which does research on piracy and technology. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce received $50,000, while Americans for Tax Reform, led by Grover Norquist, received $75,000 and the American Conservative Union received $150,000. Some contributions also went to progressive and civil rights groups, like $10,000 to Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, $25,000 to the National Urban League and $20,000 to the LULAC Institute.