Stratosphere exec quits in deal’s wake

Abramowitz to explore new-media

NEW YORK — Stratosphere Entertainment senior exec VP Richard Abramowitz stepped down Friday after the company announced an agreement to join Samuel Goldwyn and Seven Arts Entertainment parent CanWest in the creation of a new independent distrib.

Although his resignation is effective immediately, Abramowitz (who succeeded Paul Cohen as topper in 1998) will remain at the company as a consultant for an unspecified period of time. “My stay will be to make sure that the films I acquired are handled responsibly,” Abramowitz told Daily Variety, “to make sure they’re securely placed in a way that the filmmakers are comfortable with.”

Not interested

About his move’s having coincided with the new agreement, Abramowitz said, “Frankly I think it’s smart for these three companies — who all want to distribute more-or-less specialized films theatrically but don’t have the quantity of films to justify it — to move forward jointly and establish a presence in the theatrical market. I just don’t happen to be interested in doing it in this way.”

Going forward, Abramowitz will explore possibilities in the new-media realm, though he said he is still interested in specialized distribution. “I think it’s a viable thing and I like to think I’m capable of doing it profitably and responsibly.”

Prior to joining Stratosphere in 1997, Abramowitz was exec VP of marketing and distribution at Cinecom Entertainment. Earlier gigs include prexy of RKO Distribution and head of the non-theatrical department at MGM/UA.

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