AMC closes West Coast office

Chain's pic buying ops heads to Kansas City

AMC Theaters told its Los Angeles staff on Thursday that it’s shuttering its West Coast office and moving all film buying operations to its corporate HQ in Kansas City, Mo.

AMC film buying prexy Richie Fay opted not to move to the Midwest and will ankle the chain.

Sonny Gourley, currently exec VP in the L.A. office, will be promoted to prexy. AMC film chair Dick Walsh will remain based in Kansas City.

Gourley will take the reins after a three-month transition period, for which Fay has agreed to stay on.

“It’s a decision that AMC has considered for some time now,” said spokeswoman Pam Blase. “We’ve decided to put all of our major functions under one roof, which is here in our headquarters building. We think if members of the film team are here, they will be even more influential.”

Other AMC staff — there are about 20 in the L.A. office — may not relocate either. “We just announced this today, so we’re working with them to determine who will be moving to Kansas City,” Blase said.

AMC is the nation’s second-largest chain, with 230 theaters and 3,554 screens. Shifting its film buyers to the home office means that only two of the national chains will keep a Hollywood presence.

Regal, the nation’s biggest circuit, has film buyers in Los Angeles as well as in its corporate home of Knoxville, Tenn. Gotham-based Loews also keeps a West Coast office.

Pacific Theaters and Mann Theaters are both based in L.A.

Studio execs say they prefer having exhib reps in town. “When you get into a fight with someone,” said one distrib topper, “which is pretty frequently, you can go have a drink or dinner with the person and resolve things.”

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