Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation kicked off CinemaCon 2012 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas last Monday with an opening night celebration of Paramount’s 100th Anniversary, exclusive footage from several of its highly anticipated films, and a very special tribute to Paramount’s Jim Tharp, who will retire from his post as President, Domestic Distribution, Motion Picture Group after more than four decades in the business.
An esteemed film industry veteran and leader in his field, Tharp is the first recipient of CinemaCon’s Triumph Award, a recognition of an enduring and successful career in the entertainment world.
“Not only is he great at what he does – and his resume of the films he has worked with great success speaks volumes – but he is respected and admired by his peers on both sides of the fence: distribution and exhibition,” said Mitch Neuhauser, Managing Director of CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) and the largest gathering of cinema owners and operators from around the world.
After a touching tribute reel that included personal messages from Brad Grey, Steven Spielberg, Michael Bay and J.J. Abrams, among others, as well as Tharp’s wife and children, Viacom Vice Chairman Shari Redstone presented Tharp with the Triumph Award before an audience consisting of colleagues Rob Moore and Jeffrey Katzenberg, NATO’s President and CEO John Fithian, friends and industry VIPs.
“You do what you do quietly and with a sense of grace, professionalism and pride,” Redstone said of Tharp. “You have moved seamlessly between [exhibition and distribution], while maintaining the relationships, perspective and sense of humor required to drive the success that has come under your watch.”
Taking the stage, Tharp spoke of a big future for moviegoers, underscored by ever-evolving production technologies and excellent content appearing in theaters.
“It’s a pretty exciting business coming up,” he said. “It’s with mixed emotions that I’m stepping down. I’d really want to thank my partners in exhibition, teammates that I’ve had at General Cinema, DreamWorks and Paramount. I call them teammates…it’s truly what I believe we were.”