Another veteran film buyer for one of the largest theater chains in the country has exited his post. Neil Blatt, who has been with Cineplex Odeon for the past 14 years, most recently as executive VP, has resigned.
Blatt becomes the fourth major film buyer to leave his post in the past year following Don Harris at AMC, Jim Tharp at General Cinema and Hank Lightstone at United Artists, four of the top five theater chains in North America.
Stepping in only for the interim will be senior VP, film, Michael McCartney, who will handle all buying. Cineplex Odeon will replace Blatt. Those in the industry are speculating that Harris may be headed to the post. Another name in the mix is Lightstone. Harris also has been mentioned for DreamWorks.
Blatt’s departure had been rumored off and on for months. He tendered his resignation Sept. 12 to Allen Karp, president of the Toronto-based chain.
Blatt had been installed as head buyer for the chain in 1986, promoted from programming VP of the company’s U.S. theater division.
Cineplex Odeon executives would not comment.
Blatt told Variety, “I’d very much like to explore other opportunities be they in or out of the theatrical motion picture business. It’s a great time to make a change, move on, and perhaps get back into distribution. I wish Allen Karp and all my colleagues at Cineplex Odeon nothing but the best.”
Blatt’s experience in distribution was at 20th Century Fox, where he held various regional sales posts.
From Fox, Blatt became head buyer for Cineplex Odeon’s 14 screen Beverly Center multiplex in Los Angeles.