Motion Picture News (Jan-Feb 1922)

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Motion PLctuie News A Round Table Year A SPLENDID opportunity awaits the newly formed association of producers and distributors. We are, as has been stated, warmly in sympathy with the new body, particularly if it accomplishes an affiliation with exhibitor organizations, so that the industry may act with one mind, one voice and united strength in all its outside relations. That, we are told, is a prime object of the new association. A letter from Sydney S. Cohen, President of the M. P. T. O. A., published in this issue, indicates that the exhibitor organization welcomes and awaits this affiliation. Mr. Cohen says he is ready. And, all in all, the industry seems about to have the unity it so sadly lacks and so urgently needs. We would hesitate to suggest any further move that would in any way jeopardize this one accomplishment. If the organized branches of the industry can act together in all outside and non-commercial matters — that is a great advance. Perhaps it is all the progress that can be made at present. But we can’t help pointing out what we believe to be a feasible thing, a very urgent thing. We are told by a prominent up-state exhibitor, a man whose reliability we don’t question— that many houses in that section will close if something is not done to help them. He speaks with no authority for the state organization of exhibitors ; but he asks if it is not possible for the exhibitor organization to meet and confer with the new association of producers and distributors. Assuredly, he says, the latter do not want these theatres to close; a conference might result in reasonable concessions being made which will enable these houses to continue, or at least, to improve temporarily these conditions. And a little figuring might indicate that the producer and distributor might gain from such concessions on the only practical basis that half a loaf is better than none at all. At any rate, such a conference could do no harm, and even if nothing definite at all were done, it might clear the air of distrust and misunderstandings. It might even drive home the obvious but rarely realized fact that producers, distributors and exhibitors are really business partners. If any progress were made at all in such an initial conference, other states might see fit to follow the lead of New York State. And thus, for the first time, it might be possible for producers, distributors and exhibitors — pardners, any way you regard it — to get together and learn about each other’s business needs and limitations. It sounds reasonable. And as a matter of fact it’s highly necessary. Never in the entire history of this business has the need been so urgent, the practicability so apparent of a get-together between the three business branches, a cool, courageous honest talk across the table between business men whose fortunes are inevitably and closely interlinked. The world powers have done it — with astonishing results; so have many business associations. It’s the crying need of the after-war period. Why can’t this business do it? So far as the coming year is concerned we can only see sunlight ahead. But the present is a trying one. There’s no use disguising the fact. The exhibitor is up against it good and hard. He needs help; and the producer — distributor needs to help him. A conference is the short cut to all around relief. Vol. XXV JANUARY 7, 1922 No. 3