SYDNEY — After retiring from Warner Bros. last Friday, vet distrib Barry Reardon has not had to wait long for a new gig. Reardon has been appointed to the boards of Village Roadshow Ltd. and the Australian entertainment conglom’s L.A.-based production banner Village Roadshow Pictures.
“I’ve had a number of approaches, and this is the one that most interests me,” Reardon told Daily Variety Tuesday.
“I’m a great admirer of Village Roadshow and what they are trying to achieve. I can give them some help,” added Reardon, who stepped down as president of WB domestic theatrical distribution after 21 years with the studio.
Previously, he served as exec VP of U.S. exhib General Cinema Corp. and as assistant to the president of Paramount Pictures.
Pointing to Reardon’s diversified experience, VRL group managing director Graham Burke said, “No one knows our core businesses of exhibition, distribution and production better than Barry.
“He is the most respected distribution executive in the business, and he’s worked as an exhibitor and in production at Paramount. He will greatly strengthen our company.”
Reardon is expected to work closely with VRP chairman/CEO Bruce Berman (a former colleague at WB who served as president of theatrical production) on the VRP-Warner co-production venture which has yielded a substantial domestic hit in “Analyze This” and a solid performer in “Practical Magic.” The co-venture’s next offering, the Keanu Reeves starrer “The Matrix,” bows in the U.S. March 31 and Down Under April 8.
After a screening Tuesday night of “The Matrix” for Village Roadshow execs in Melbourne, Burke described the reaction as “staggering” and says his distribution execs estimate the sci-fi actioner will gross more than $A20 million ($12.6 million) in Australia.
Reardon’s first official duties will entail attending the board meetings of VRL (May 4) and VRP (May 5), both in Melbourne. His appointment to VRL fills a vacancy created by the recent resignation of director Alan Rydge, who continues as the chairman and major shareholder of Amalgamated Holdings, parent of exhib Greater Union.
As to the other approaches he’s received, Reardon said, “I have not accepted any other offers. I won’t decide for a while whether or not to accept any of the others.”
VRL chairman John Kirby commented, “Barry’s international respect and successes in the entertainment industry brings to Village Roadshow a unique and insightful knowledge.”