When everyone's making money, everyone's your best friend.That was the tone of the Tuesday morning keynote at ShoWest, when MPAA honcho Dan Glickman and National Assn. of Theater Owners John Fithian took their shots at everyone -- media, mainly -- who said the movie business is in freefall.
Touting 2006 numbers that were released last week -- domestic box office was up 5.5%, international box office up 11% -- Glickman kicked things off by using the oft-paraphrased quote that "reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated." He went on to tout the upcoming sequel-heavy summer as one that will be potentially record-setting -- highlighting "Spider-Man 3," "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" and the next "Harry Potter."
"My prediction is that 2007 will be even bigger than 2006," Glickman said.
Glickman only briefly went through the overall numbers. Under Jack Valenti's watch, the Tuesday announcement was usually a much bigger deal, as yearly stats were always released during the session, not a week earlier.
The news was so good, it seems, that exhibitors were hedging their bets -- in a spiritual way.
The morning session had kicked off, incredibly, with... a prayer. The entire Theatre des Artes at the Paris stood up as a spiritual "coach" offered thanks to God for such superficial things as "... the high marks exhibitors have received, and for enforcing the ratings system. May we have an only uplifting positive impact."
Of course, the sermon was followed by a short welcome from Hollywood's master of bombast, Jerry Bruckheimer, and Glickman, who, during his address, bragged that he had seen "Borat" three times.
The big draw of the morning was a 12-minute presentation of "Ratatouille," Pixar's summer hopeful that mixes French cineaste atmosphere with the story of a rat who wants to be a chef. Pic, voiced by Patton Oswalt and Peter O'Toole, opens June 29.
Director Brad Bird kicked off the clip by taking a tongue-in-cheek jab at sequel-mania.
"I feel a little bit out of place here," he said. "So I thought of selling it as "Ratatouille I...the prequel to the sequel."
No matter, it got a great reception, as did a short trailer for the new "Pirates," which is being released on May 25.