Outgoing National Association of Theatre Owners CEO Says ‘Everyone Gets It… Except for Netflix’

CinemaCon: John Fithian tells TheWrap that he believes the industry, including streamers and a post-Chapek Disney, will put theatrical first — with one exception

John Fithian, NATO President & CEO, at CinemaCon 2022
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John Fithian, president and CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners, has spent the past three years guiding cinemas out of a pandemic that led many to question whether this would be the exhibition industry’s last stand.

Now, he’s leaving the job feeling more hopeful than ever about the future of the theatrical experience.

“Getting through COVID meant dealing with a blitzkrieg of multiple hard tasks,” Fithian told TheWrap in a one-on-one interview ahead of NATO’s annual CinemaCon event. “We had to develop the protocols for preventing the spread of COVID in theaters and then lobby state governments to allow theaters to reopen, and on the financial side there were countless talks on the federal and state level for grants and tax advantages to allow theaters to stay afloat as the box office started rebuilding.