LAS VEGAS — Steve Gilula, who co-founded the Landmark Theatre arthouse chain more than 23 years ago, confirmed Wednesday that he will step down as president and CEO when the circuit is acquired by Silver Cinemas. The deal is expected to close at the end of this month.
Gilula, chairman of NATO of California/Nevada and a member of the advisory board of the current ShoWest exhibitors confab, said his immediate plan was to take a sabbatical to spend more time with his family and pursue personal goals.
After that, the exhibition veteran said he would “step back” and assess the industry before jumping back in, perhaps with a new venture of his own.
“I’ve received some flattering job offers, but I’m more of an entrepreneurial type,” he said.
Landmark co-founder and senior VP Bert Manzariwill stay on as part of the circuit’s new management team.
Founded in 1974 by Gilula, along with Manzari and Gary Meyer, Landmark underwent several changes of ownership over the years. The company was acquired in 1989 by Heritage Entertainment, and two years later by the Samuel Goldwyn Co.
Most recently, Metromedia took possession of the company after purchasing Goldwyn in early 1996. The chain was not included in Metromedia’s sale of Goldwyn and Orion to MGM in April last year.
As president and CEO since 1982, Gilula built Landmark into the largest specialized theater circuit in the U.S., with 48 theaters in 10 states, including nine of the top 15 markets. Under his guidance, the company has developed a reputation for supporting smaller independent distributors as well as studio specialized divisions.