NATO Challenges Press Reports of Movie Boycotts

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Thu, 04/28/2011 - 20:00 -- Nick Dager

The National Association of Theatre Owners does not and could not encourage its members to engage in any boycotts of any movies distributed by any company.  Recent press reports to the contrary are completely false. John Fithian NATO’s president and CEO issued the formal statement. In an article published on April 13 in The Guardian it was suggested that NATO indicated that cinema operators were prepared not to screen movies and specifically referenced the coming Harry Potter film.  No one from The Guardian contacted NATO before the original article was published.  At our request The Guardian did later change the article to remove the erroneous reference to the Harry Potter film. Then later on April 13 the blog Business Insider entitled Harry Potter 8 Dropped From Theaters? suggested that NATO “is threatening to drop some of this summer’s biggest blockbusters” and that “screens under NATO are threatening to boycott upcoming studio releases starting with Warner Bros. sure to be box office-gargantuan Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.”  Again these stories and others that have followed are completely false and no one from the organizations responsible for the stories contacted anyone at NATO. NATO has often articulated our concerns about the possible release of premium video-on-demand movies in an early window.  Our association issued statements on June 16 2010 and again on March 31 2011 regarding those concerns.  But as our 2010 statement made clear “individual theater companies must and will make decisions about release window changes in their own company’s interest.”  NATO cannot and will not make those decisions for them.