After a 15-month, Lost Ark-rivaling quest, the Motion Picture Association of America’s search for a chairman-CEO has finally ended. The MPAA announced this week that five-term Connecticut senator and one-time presidential hopeful Christopher Dodd would take on the role.
Dodd didn’t sound a bit shaken when he told the L.A. Times that his years of cross-party work “putting together a financial reform bill and 50 percent of the healthcare bill” have adequately prepared him to wheel-and-deal among cut-throat movie execs, big challenges lie ahead for the former senator, whose only previous experience with Hollywood was a cameo in the 1993 Ivan Reitman movie Dave.
Set to step into his new position on March 17, Dodd dons the hat of Hollywood’s chief lobbyist soon after a critically panned Oscars, and during a tough time for the film industry as a whole: Movie-theater attendance has declined by more than 20 percent since last year, long-established business models are in flux, and the threat of digital piracy lurks within the most innocent-looking mobile device.
If a Reuters Q-&-A is any indication, though, Dodd’s off to a good start, vowing to crack down on intellectual property looting and explore international market access, and name-dropping “Bob” Redford, Warren Beatty, and even Jack Valenti, the MPAA’s CEO for four decades until his death in 2007, who was a White House insider-turned-Hollywood powerbroker who somehow always managed to make the movie-rating organization seem glamorous. And he was a “great friend” of Dodd’s father.
But those days are long gone. Now begins the Dodd era.
“I haven’t been this excited since 1974,” he said in an interview.
Dodd replaces former Kansas congressman Dan Glickman, who resigned as chairman-CEO 11 months ago.