Cuts come in the midst of Wanda takeover

Change is afoot at AMC Entertainment as the exhib shakes up management and cuts costs in the midst of a takeover by China’s Wanda Group.

Longtime execs Sonny Gourley, president of film programming, and Dave Hull, a film buyer and senior VP of film programming, will ankle the company.

Elizabeth Frank, senior veep of strategy and strategic partnerships, was promoted to the overarching role of exec VP and chief content and programming officer. She will work with AMC’s programming prexy Robert Lenihan and report to CEO Gerry Lopez.

AMC said the moves were part of an annual operating planning process earlier this year “to properly align our resources with our strategic initiatives” and to control costs, “as they have increased in some areas faster than revenues.”

Frank’s position includes broad responsibilities overseeing all content shown on AMC screens around the world. She will continue serving on the board of Open Road Films, AMC’s joint production venture with Regal Entertainment .

Frank will also take “a growing and active role” in working with Wanda, AMC said.

Wanda announced a deal to buy Kansas City, Mo.-based AMC in May for about $2.6 billion, a big of chunk of that being AMC debt, and said it will invest $500 million to upgrade the circuit. AMC, the nation’s second largest exhib after Regal, owns about 350 theatres with 5,000 screens spread mostly across 32 states, Washington, D.C. and Canada.

Sonny began his career with AMC in 1975 as a film buyer. Hull started with AMC in 1972.

“Sonny will be remembered best for his optimism, his integrity and his deep commitment to the movie business,” said Lopez. “We are grateful to have had him on our team for almost 40 years.”

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