Jun 3 • 54M

Pod: The Studio Chiefs' Secret Diplomat

MPA chairman Charles Rivkin left Obama's administration for a far harder assignment: bringing six studios to consensus

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MPA Chair Charles Rivkin. (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

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On today’s Ankler Hot Seat podcast, hosts Janice Min, Tatiana Siegel and Richard Rushfield welcome Charles Rivkin, chairman of the Motion Picture Association, the film industry’s historic trade group whose members include Disney, Warner Bros., Universal, Paramount, Sony, and now Netflix

Rivkin came to this post through a storied career that led him through the Jim Henson company — whose sale to Disney he engineered in 1988 — to becoming President Obama’s ambassador to France and an assistant secretary of state before taking the reins of the MPA in 2018.

On today’s podcast, the group talks about the many topics shaking the studios right now, and how his “eight years in diplomacy” helped Rivkin work for the larger good among fierce competitors on issues ranging from the windowing future to the path ahead for Netflix (“these guys are incredibly smart. They're gonna figure out a way to win.”)

Also on the docket in the wide-ranging conversation:

  • Improving the theatrical experience in the face of decaying theaters.

  • What the MPA is doing to crack down on piracy, leading raids and police actions around the globes.

  • The moral complications of trying to do business with China.

  • Guns onscreen and the film industry’s responsibilities.

And much more.

After that conversation, Richard and Tatiana talk through the very busy news week for Hollywood, in particular what happens to both stars after the stunning Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial verdict, and the meaning of the big shake-up atop Warner Bros. studio.

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