When the nation’s two largest theater chains, AMC and Regal, announced earlier this year the formation of Open Road Films, Regal CEO Amy Miles and her partners faced industry speculation about the company’s intent — interpreted as a form of retaliation against studios’ plans for shortened theatrical windows.
But according to Miles, there was nothing cynical in the company’s motive, which is simply to help filmmakers get their movies seen.
“We didn’t feel like we were being competitive with the studios,” Miles says. “We felt that there were gaps in the marketplace because of studios’ change in focus (on major tentpoles), so we decided to be complementary rather than competitive.”
Miles, who’s served as CEO of Regal since 2009, admits that launching Open Road was a considerable undertaking from the start; she and her team, along with AMC, began working on the new company shortly after Miles’ appointment. “You always as CEO try to have your own time,” Miles says. “Luckily I have a great team here.”
Currently, Miles says the focus on Open Road has been to fill out its executive ranks (Tom Ortenberg was hired as CEO, with Jason Cassidy as marketing chief).
Open Road hasn’t been the sole focus for Regal so far this year. Miles says Regal completed its 3D rollout six months ahead of schedule, with 40%-45% of the circuit 3D-ready and 60% of theaters having been converted to digital.
“We’re constantly trying to figure out how technology is going to help our business,” Miles says.
She says the company’s existing assets, like in-theater lobbying and marketing potential, and increased digital capacity in theaters, are significant boons to filmmakers.
“A part of the message to our studio partners was to say, ‘Hey guys, we’re not trying to compete with your business,’ ” Miles says of Open Road. “But when you’re on our side of the fence, we need films like you need air.”
Title: CEO, Regal Entertainment Group
Role model:“My mom, Marsha Brown”
Career mantra: “Surround yourself with people smarter than you are.”
Leisure pursuits: “Spending quality time with family.”
Philanthropic passion: Variety the Children’s Charity of eastern Tennessee