MPAA Chief Chris Dodd Skipping Annual CinemaCon Speech

Chris Dodd -Getty-H 2016
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Hollywood's top lobbyist has a scheduling conflict that will keep him away from this year's annual gathering of theater owners and film studios.

In a break with a long-standing tradition, Motion Picture Association of America chairman-CEO Chris Dodd won't be on hand to give his usual state-of-the-industry speech at CinemaCon this year.

For decades, the head of the MPAA has shared the stage with the head of the National Association of Theatre Owners, with both lobbyists giving separate industry speeches. This year, NATO president John Fithian will have solo duties. It may be the first time an MPAA chief has missed the show since the practice was instituted.

Dodd, a former U.S. senator and Hollywood's top lobbyist who has run the MPAA since 2011, has a scheduling conflict that will keep him from attending the annual gathering of theater owners and Hollywood studios, according to insiders.

An MPAA spokesman confirmed Dodd won't be attending.

His predecessors include Dan Glickman, who ran the MPAA from 2004-11, and the late Jack Valenti, who served in the job for 38 years. Valenti famously helped created the movie ratings system.

CinemaCon, NATO's official convention, is set to run March 27-30 in Las Vegas. Prior to 2011, NATO's official convention was ShoWest.