Price is right for Landmark

Exec tapped VP, sees 'sense of optimism' in exhib

Former American Zoetrope prexy and Trimark Pictures distribution head Ray Price has been appointed vice president of marketing for indie exhibition circuit Landmark Theaters. Chain was rescued from bankruptcy in May by investment banking firm Oaktree Capital Management as part of its Silver Cinemas acquisition.

Since then, Landmark has seen the return of president and CEO Paul Richardson and exec VP Bert Manzari, both of whom exited the chain in 1998 after it was acquired by Silver. Landmark recently tapped veteran sales exec Marty Zeidman as its head film buyer (Daily Variety, June 28).

“There’s a tremendous sense of optimism,” said Price of the 26-year-old Landmark chain, which resumed construction of multiplexes in Manhattan and Washington, D.C., shortly after Oaktree’s purchase.

In 1998, discount theater chain Silver purchased Landmark and tried to combine Silver’s second-run business with Landmark’s traditional diet of indie fare. Two years later, the debt-ridden Silver slid into bankruptcy court.

Move reps something of a homecoming for Price, who previously partnered with Manzari in the 1980s through their independent exhibition partnership, Manray Associates, which managed more than 100 screens.

Price also helped build the distribution arms of IRS Media, First Look Pictures and Trimark Pictures. Most recently, he oversaw domestic and international distribution of Zoetrope’s “The Virgin Suicides” and helped lay the foundation for Zoetrope’s re-entry into production and its distribution through United Artists.

The Landmark Theaters circuit is the largest specialized film exhibitor in the country, with 164 screens in 17 markets. The Silver subsidiary has an additional 150 discount screens.

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