CinemaCon 2022 begins on Monday, April 25th at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The world’s largest conference for exhibitors comes at a crucial time for theatres, where attendance has not yet fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels. On the bright side, there is some optimism about the upcoming summer movie season, which kicks off on May 6th with Disney/Marvel’s DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS.
NATO, the industry organization behind CinemaCon, is led by John Fithian, who has been a staunch advocate for exhibitions throughout the pandemic. In a pre-conference interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Fithian commented on the winning cultural influence of the Oscars, unorthodox theatrical releasing patterns of streamers, and the pendulum swinging back in the direction of studios releasing more movies with theatrical exclusive runs, albeit shorter than the traditional 90-day windows that exhibitors had enjoyed in the past.
All of Fithian’s points point to the importance for the industry and the public of the theatrical experience, a theme that will be featured this week at CinemaCon. This year’s event is the first to be held during its traditional late spring dates since the onset of the pandemic. The 2020 conference was postponed at the last minute and then eventually canceled as COVID wreaked havoc on the industry. CinemaCon 2021 was held in August, with attendance coming in at only 50% of typical levels.