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AMC Theatres Criticizes Industry Trade Group for Attack on Fox CEO James Murdoch

23 Sep, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel

In a twist, AMC Theatres Sept. 23 criticized trade group National Association of Theater Owners for its CEO's letter suggesting 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch “learn” how the movie industry works.

Specifically, NATO CEO John Fithian was responding to comments made by Murdoch to an investor group this week that questioned the theatrical window at expense of alternate distribution, including premium video-on-demand.

Murdoch said consumers shouldn’t be saddled by arcane business rules promoted by NATO.

"Welcome to the movie industry Mr. Murdoch. We hope you’ll take some time to learn how it works,” Fithian wrote in response.

Adam Aron, CEO of AMC Theatres, called Fithian’s letter “condescending and gratuitous in its affronts” targeting Murdoch. Aron said AMC only saw the letter after it was made public in the media.

While lauding the long-time benefits of the theatrical window, Aron said AMC is working with studios, including Fox, to accommodate a changing moviegoer, who increasingly puts a premium on ubiquitous access across distribution platforms.

“Carefully considered reform is always worth evaluating in any number of areas,” Aron wrote. “We wish NATO had said only that in its statement.”

The CEO said AMC has “the most profound respect and appreciation” for Murdoch, his brother Lachlan, vice chairman of Fox, and father/chairman Rupert, in addition to coworkers at Fox.

“May our partnership continue in this spirit for decades to come.”

Kansas City, Missouri-based AMC was acquired in 2012 by Chinese-based Dalian Wanda Group for $2.3 billion.

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