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Jack Valenti to Retire

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Jack Valenti to Retire

Old 03-23-04, 02:40 PM
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Jack Valenti to Retire

Valenti to Retire From Film Association

Mar 23, 3:00 PM (ET)

By DAVID GERMAIN

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Jack Valenti, who oversaw the creation of Hollywood's movie-ratings system in the 1960s, said Tuesday he will step down as head of the Motion Picture Association of America, possibly within three months.

Valenti, 82, has hinted at retirement over the last two years. He made it official at ShoWest, an annual convention of theater owners. May will mark Valenti's 38th anniversary in the job.

"I look at this with mixed emotions, because when you've done something so long, it's difficult to tear yourself away from it," Valenti told reporters before announcing retirement plans to theater owners in an address to open the convention. "But also, in any job, you want to leave before people ask you to leave."

Valenti, who received a standing ovation from a crowd of about 1,200 theater owners, said he hopes to give up the job in two to three months if a successor can be found that quickly.


MPAA has hired media recruiter Spencer Stuart to hunt for a new leader for the trade group, which represents Hollywood's top seven studios - Disney, Warner Bros., Universal, Sony, 20th Century Fox, Paramount and MGM.

The job had been offered to U.S. Rep. Billy Tauzin, a Louisiana Republican, but he declined last January.

A former advertising and political consultant, Valenti was a speechwriter and congressional liaison for President Johnson before becoming head of the MPAA in 1966. The group implemented the ratings system two years later to replace a hodgepodge of government boards that censored movie content.

Critics have harped on the ratings system for decades, with some saying the ratings board is too loose on violence and overly prudish on sexuality.

But the system has stood largely unchanged from the G, PG, R and X ratings it began with. In the 1980s, a PG-13 category was added for movies inappropriate for preteens to attend on their own, while the NC-17 designation replaced the X rating for adult movies in the early 1990s.

Last year, the MPAA's annual poll of about 2,600 movie-goers found that 76 percent of parents with children younger than 13 found the ratings system useful, Valenti said.

"Jack Valenti has been a consummate leader of this industry for 38 years," said John Fithian, who heads the National Association of Theatre Owners. "And we're not sure what we're going to do without him."

As home-video and digital technology has advanced, Valenti has become involved in studio efforts to fight film piracy, which he said costs the industry about $3.5 billion a year as bootleggers duplicate movies on video tape and DVD or make them available on the Internet.

One anti-piracy attempt backfired last year, as Valenti took the lead on a studio-backed plan to ban so-called "awards screeners," video copies of new movies sent to Academy Awards voters and those who pick other Hollywood honors so they can watch the films in their homes.

Those screener copies had been a source of counterfeit videotapes, DVDs and Internet downloads, Valenti said.

Small film outfits and independent producers objected, saying awards screeners allowed their movies to compete for Oscars with big-studio films that have huge marketing budgets.

Opponents sued, and the ban on awards screeners was lifted by a federal judge. Valenti said Tuesday that in the future, it will be up to individual studios and film distributors to decide if they want to send screener copies of their awards contenders.

Valenti said he will maintain an "umbilical relationship" with the MPAA and Hollywood, though he was not certain what that role would be.

"I've been blessed with some genetic energy, so I'm not going to fade away," Valenti said.
http://apnews1.iwon.com//article/200...=home&SEC=news

It will be interesting to see whether the MPAA takes a different direction under new leadership.
Old 03-23-04, 02:40 PM
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Interesting
Old 03-23-04, 04:02 PM
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It's about time. Could never stand the guy.
Old 03-23-04, 04:58 PM
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Thank God
Old 03-23-04, 05:04 PM
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This should be good news, but I'm much to cynical to think so.

Consider some possible successors:
CapAlert
Michael Medved
Old 03-23-04, 07:00 PM
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I'm glad he'll be gone, but I'm worried about who his successor might be.
Old 03-23-04, 07:06 PM
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This could be a good thing or a bad thing.

Good: We get someone more liberal.
Bad: We get someone more conservitive.

If the studios have their way, maybe we'll get someone more liberal. That's what I hope for anyway. If we get the John Ashcroft of the MPAA, then we're all ****ed.
Old 03-23-04, 08:51 PM
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I think it's good. Valenti has done some good, but his time is past. While the concern will be who takes over, I don't think Valenti would allow someone too conservative. His recent comments regarding the implications of the FCC and nipplegate give me some faith that he has no desire to see the MPAA become too censoership driven and have government involvement.
Old 03-23-04, 09:07 PM
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Originally posted by mike45
Thank God
My exact words upon first reading the news.
Old 03-23-04, 09:29 PM
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We should definitely start a petition to get a Mr. Cameron Spencer Osbourne to replace him. He'd clean up that dirty industry in no time!

If a movie got a negative score on his scale... that movie won't be allowed to be made!
Old 03-24-04, 04:56 AM
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Originally posted by mike45
Thank God

These were the exact words that came out of my mouth when I found out, too!
Old 03-24-04, 10:49 AM
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Originally posted by Wazootyman
We should definitely start a petition to get a Mr. Cameron Spencer Osbourne to replace him. He'd clean up that dirty industry in no time!

If a movie got a negative score on his scale... that movie won't be allowed to be made!
That took me a second to comprehend. I kept saying to myself, "I know that name from somewhere."
Old 03-24-04, 11:46 AM
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No smoking and no blasphemy!

I hate Valentti and I'm glad he's gone. If I had to listen to his Nov. 22 story about how he was on the plane when they swore in Johnson I thought I'd die.

My worry is that his successor will be a corporate conglomerate suck up and do everything to make the big media companies succeed.
Old 03-24-04, 01:35 PM
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Originally posted by Matthew Chmiel
If the studios have their way, maybe we'll get someone more liberal. That's what I hope for anyway. If we get the John Ashcroft of the MPAA, then we're all ****ed.
Of course the studios will have their way. They are the MPAA, it's not like anyone is going to tell them who to hire.

Originally posted by Pants
My worry is that his successor will be a corporate conglomerate suck up and do everything to make the big media companies succeed.
Making the major studios bigger and richer is the primary purpose of the MPAA.

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