- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 21, 2015

LAS VEGAS (AP) - It matters where you watch a movie, the head of the Motion Picture Association of America stressed Tuesday at the opening of an annual gathering of theater owners in Las Vegas.

“Legitimately accessing content rewards the creators that drive America’s flourishing motion picture and TV industry, a nationwide economic sector that exports six times what it imports,” said Chris Dodd, MPAA chairman and CEO in reference to the ongoing content piracy problem.

Dodd said piracy and illegal downloading remain top concerns for the industry, especially with 2015 expected to be a record-breaking year at the worldwide box office.

At stake, Dodd said, are the jobs of 1.9 million American workers who depend on the success of the film and television industry.

Those workers are the ones whose “faces we will never see on a movie screen, who will never walk a red carpet.” he said.

Dodd used the opportunity to promote the newly launched website www.wheretowatch.com , a search platform presented by the six member studios of the MPAA to provides information on where films can be seen legally online or in theaters.

But the major theme of the presentation was the upcoming slate of movies.

National Association of Theater Owners President John Fithian noted a number of reasons that 2015 will be a banner year, including the fact that studios are finally embracing the entire calendar year for releases.

“Clint Eastwood presented serious drama in January, February is a great time for love,” said Fithian, referencing high-earners “American Sniper” and “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

In a year that includes blockbuster releases such as “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” ”Avengers: Age of Ultron,” and “Jurassic World,” Fithian said there will be “at least four, and maybe six, billion-dollar global movies spread across the year.”

Key, though, is the fact that there are more films with women at the center, and more films that appeal to all ages. Films such as “Cinderella,” ”Insurgent” and “Fifty Shades of Grey” had women in leading roles and women making up 60 percent of the ticket-buying audience.

“Personally I’m so pleased that my daughter can see more women in leading roles than ever before,” he said.

CinemaCon runs through Thursday.

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