On Tuesday during his annual address to delegates at CinemaCon, National Association Of Theatre Owners president John Fithian caused a stir with a real head-scratcher that has kept resonating among theater owners and some studio executives when he stated he waited to watch this year’s Oscar-winning Best Picture 12 Years A Slave at home, rather than at a cinema, because it was too “unequivocally intense.” For the head of an organization that is meant to promote movie-watching in theaters, singling out the Academy’s choice for Best Picture (with that Oscar distinction traditionally a real magnet to bring customers into theaters) was an eye-opener, and execs at 20th Century Fox to whom I have spoken were furious with the NATO chief for even suggesting, however personal, that the preferred way to see the widely acclaimed Fox Searchlight release was to wait and see it at home. This morning, near the beginning of their studio presentation at Caesars Palace’s Colisseum theatre, Fox shot back. ”All of (our) films are meant to be seen in the best possible venue, the cinema, your cinemas and that includes movies that win the Oscar for Best Picture like 12 Years A Slave,” said 20th Century Fox distribution president Chris Aronson in his opening remarks this morning that contained that not-so-veiled reference and response to Fithian’s comments.
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Of course it is no secret that many Academy members were, like Fithian, reluctant to watch the intense film, either in a theater or at home on their screener. That’s one of the reasons Fox Searchlight launched their second-phase “It’s Time” campaign in order to encourage them to view the film that would eventually take the top prize for the studio. But coming from the head of NATO, these remarks really stung, especially since he so publicly supports strict windows between the theatrical release of a movie and when it can be consumed at home. One Fox exec to whom I spoke was, in a word, livid when he heard Fithian’s remarks. Another major theatre chain head who played several runs of 12 Years A Slave and still has it in some theaters (even though it first opened in October) was equally outraged by the suggestion that the film is too intense for their screens. Another said, “It’s like if you were the head of Macy’s department store and urged people to shop in their store, but to buy your underwear online.” Read More »
Twentieth Century Fox has named Spencer Klein SVP and assistant general sales manager — the first official hire by Fox’s new domestic distribution president Chris Aronson. Klein, previously with Dallas-based The Film Group, will handle the studio’s theatrical distribution activities in the U.S. and Canada.
Before 20th Century Fox got around to revealing its product reel this morning at CinemaCon, National Association of Theatre Owners president John Fithian came onstage to honor outgoing Fox distribution president Bruce Snyder, who announced his retirement this week. Fithian, introduced by Fox’s current EVP Domestic Distribution and Snyder’s replacement Chris Aronson, said he was shocked by Snyder’s move, saying “it’s like a .300 hitter leaving the game when he is still hitting 300″. He noted that Snyder has the rare ability to solve problems ”with an iron fist and a velvet heart. A good friend with a special gentleness”. Aronson said “no award in existence could mark” the real impact of Snyder’s 36 years with Fox before they brought Snyder out to present him with CinemaCon’s Triumph Award.
Related: Fox Distribution Boss Bruce Snyder Retiring; Chris Aronson To Replace Him Read More »
Bruce Snyder has run 20th Century Fox‘s domestic distribution business as president since 1989 and is stepping down on July 6. Chris Aronson was just promoted to EVP and General Sales Manager last month and was reporting to Snyder.
Los Angeles (April 24, 2012) __ Bruce Snyder, a 36-year veteran of Twentieth Century Fox and the executive who has overseen the studio’s domestic distribution activities since 1989, will retire from the company on July 6, 2012, it was announced today by Fox chairmen and CEOs Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos.
Chris Aronson, who most recently served as Executive Vice President, General Sales Manager for Fox Domestic Distribution, has been promoted to succeed Snyder.
Commented Gianopulos and Rothman: “For decades, Bruce has represented everything that is good and strong and ethical about our studio and industry. He has not only guided hundreds of our pictures into the theatrical marketplace, he has spent countless hours advising colleagues and even competitors, all of whom have benefited from his wisdom, experience and kindnesses. We are sorry to see Bruce go. He is a prince among men and will be missed by everyone whose lives and careers he has touched. But we know that Bruce’s longtime colleague and friend Chris Aronson, will ably follow in those very large footsteps.”
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Twentieth Century Fox has promoted Chris Aronson to EVP, General Sales Manager. Aronson will continue to report to Fox Domestic Distribution President Bruce Snyder, who today made the announcement internally. In his newly expanded role, Aronson – who most recently served as SVP Domestic Distribution — will be responsible for all of 20th Century Fox’s theatrical distribution activities in the U.S. and Canada, while overseeing the company’s field offices in Los Angeles, New York and Toronto. Read More »