IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Valenti proud to have ‘survived’ MPAA

Jack Valenti has seen vast changes in Hollywood in his 38 years in the movie industry.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Jack Valenti created the movie-ratings system. He’s been Hollywood’s ambassador to Washington since 1966. He’s become a vigilant policeman on film piracy.

Yet what was his greatest achievement as head of the Motion Picture Association of America, a job he is leaving after 38 years?

“I survived,” Valenti, 82, wrote in an opinion column in Monday’s Los Angeles Times.

“To endure in a volatile, unpredictable arena populated by egos the size of small planets is not an inconsiderable achievement,” Valenti wrote.

Valenti noted the vast changes in Hollywood during his tenure: the decline of studios run by pioneering movie moguls in favor of corporate-owned production shops; huge increases in production and marketing costs; reliance on make-or-break opening weekends; the growth in the international box office; the explosion of the DVD market; and the piracy risk digital cinema presents.

“Yet one thing has not changed,” Valenti wrote. “A moviemaker’s single indispensable asset — as elementally essential now as it was in the Golden Years — is the Story. And that means studio executives of this era must share the same DNA as industry pioneers in at least one particular — the ability to find a narrative with heart and heat.”

Dan Glickman, former U.S. agriculture secretary under President Clinton, takes over as MPAA head Sept. 1. Valenti will continue to oversee the movie-ratings system.