National Assn. of Theatre Owners President and Chief Executive John Fithian,… (Chris Pizzello / Invision/AP )
The head of the theater industry trade group urged Hollywood studios to give their audiences more choices at the box office.
John Fithian, chief executive of the National Assn. of Theatre Owners, told a crowd of theater owners and studio executives gathered at the annual CinemaCon convention in Las Vegas that box office attendance had fallen 12% this year mainly because of a dearth of family movies.
"Indeed, we were down in the first quarter. But why? Simply put -- not enough choices," Fithian said in his State of the Industry speech on the second day of the convention. "The product selection in the first part of 2013 was dismal."
Fithian noted that last year the industry had record numbers, with total box office revenues climbing to $34.7 billion, which he attributed to a diverse slate of movies, from "The Avengers" to "Hunger Games," "Argo" and "The Lorax."
Calling PG-13 movies the "blockbuster sweet spot," he noted that last year PG-13 rated movies almost doubled the return from R-rated movies, even though there were almost 50% more R-rated movies released.
"Americans have stated their clear choice, Hollywood," Fithian said. "Give them more choices, for all ages, and they'll buy more tickets."
Nonetheless, Fithian said the state of the industry is strong and predicted box office revenues would improve this year with the release of such movies as "Iron Man 3" and Disney-Pixar's "Monsters University."
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