Looks like Variety got carried away this afternoon with a story that says “several prominent exhibitors” are rejecting the National Association of Theatre Owners‘new voluntary guidelines calling for a two-minute cap on movie trailers. The site named two chains – Cinemark and AMC Entertainment — saying that their defection raises ”the question of why NATO is pushing the issue at all.” Just one thing: AMC denies the story’s claim that it “has reversed its position” after its rep on the NATO board voted for the new guidelines. “AMC Theatres is in full support of the voluntary NATO In-Theatre Marketing Guidelines, which at their core are about the more efficient and effective use of our industry’s marketing resources,” the company says. “Recently published letters, articles and commentary we’ve seen throughout the industry badly misrepresent the intent of these guidelines. As has always been our practice, this and all studio dealings will be handled directly with our distribution partners as we seek to maximize the box office performance of their films, and we expect that practice to continue.”
Cinemark was the lone vote against of the guidelines on NATO’s 16-member board, which includes representatives of the eight largest exhibition chains. Cinemark didn’t respond to requests for clarification of its position on the matter. Hollywood studios say that trailers need more than two minutes to make an impression on audiences; the industry standard has been 2 1/2 minutes. NATO’s new guidelines would give each studio two exemptions a year — allowing for these trailers to run no more than three minutes. The trade group would serve as the “information clearinghouse” for distributors to identify the films that they want to be exempt. In addition to the time limits, NATO wants trailers to run no more than 150 days before a movie’s released, with other in-theater marketing limited to 120 days.