DreamWorks snags five distrib’n execs

DreamWorks distribution has solidified its distribution team under Jim Tharp and Don Harris with the hiring of five exhibition executives from various theatrical chains: Noel Kendall, Emmet Nicaud, Joe Sabatino, Jim Smith and Patricia Gonzalez. The hires come only months before DreamWorks starts distributing its own product, beginning with “The Peacemaker” on Sept. 26.

Tharp said that each of the new execs was “handpicked. Not only does each of them bring many years’ worth of experience to the table, but they all possess a degree of creativity and flexibility that’s rare in the motion picture business nowadays.”

Kendall, who will supervise sales for the company’s western states region, comes to DreamWorks after 23 years with AMC Theaters. For the past 10 years he has served as AMC’s senior VP and head film buyer for the western division. The move rejoins Kendall with Harris who previously worked at AMC.

Also rejoining Harris from AMC is Sabatino, who was senior VP and head film buyer for the exhibitor’s eastern division. Sabatino started as a theater manager at AMC in 1973 and worked his way up the ranks.

“We decided to go out and identify who was the best possible person for the job,” said Harris, who added that he and Tharp adopted the “best possible athlete theory” in making the hires.

Nicaud joins DreamWorks from Orion Pictures, where he served as VP of the company’s southern division since 1991. All told, he has spent 27 years in sales at a number of entertainment companies, including Paramount Pictures, New World Pictures and MGM/UA.

Smith was with United Artists Theater chain, where he was VP and head film buyer of UA’s western division. He has had several years’ experience with General Cinema, where Tharp formerly worked. He started as a film buyer in 1981 at the chain’s southeast region and moved to Los Angeles in 1991 to become head buyer for the exhibitor’s western region.

Also joining the company from General Cinema is Gonzalez, who has spent 16 years with the exhibitor, most recently as director of film marketing.

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