×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Landmark Theatres Chain Sold to Cohen Media Group

Arthouse specialist Landmark Theatres has been sold by Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban to Cohen Media Group for an undisclosed price.

The sale ends months of speculation about Landmark’s fate — the company has been shopped around for months, reportedly drawing interest from Amazon, Netflix, and Byron Allen. Cohen Media Group chairman Charles S. Cohen, a real estate developer whose fortune is estimated to be $3.4 billion, said he will retain the senior management team of Landmark Theatres.

In an interview with Variety, Landmark Theatres president and CEO Ted Mundorff said he was pleased that the sale had been resolved and also said he was optimistic that Cohen, a cinephile, was an ideal owner.

“It’s a great day for the industry,” said Mundorff. “You have a film lover who bought a theater company… and he’s going to keep the ship running the way it has been going.”

The deal was announced Tuesday by Wagner, Cuban, Mundorff, and Cohen, who formed Cohen Media Group in 2008 as an independent theatrical distribution and production company. He executive produced “Frozen River,” bought and remodeled the Quad Cities Cinema in New York City, and has acquired more than 700 classic films. He has made a point of restoring the films of Ismail Merchant and James Ivory, releasing remastered prints of “Howard’s End,” “Heat and Dust,” and other films. His holdings include Los Angeles’ Pacific Design Center, Design Center of the Americas in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Decorative Center Houston.

Landmark, which operates 252 screens in 27 markets, has been owned by Wagner-Cuban’s 2929 Entertainment since 2003. Landmark describes itself as the nation’s largest specialized theater chain dedicated to independent cinema. At a time when major theater chains have barred movies from Netflix, Landmark has shown a willingness to exhibit content that premieres on streaming platforms or that avoids traditional theatrical release windows. It is showing “Roma,” for instance. Mundorff indicated that its approach will not change with new ownership.

“I think we’ll continue to curate the films the way we’ve been doing,” he said.

Key locations include the Landmark in Los Angeles and the Landmark at 57 West in New York City, which are often used to host award-season events and screenings, as well as the E Street Cinema and the Landmark Atlantic Plumbing Cinema in Washington D.C., the Landmark at Merrick Park in Coral Gables, Fla., the Landmark at Greenwood Village in Denver and revival specialist the Nuart in West Los Angeles.

Cohen Media Group also restores and re-releases classic films under the label Cohen Film Collection, which includes the Merchant Ivory collection and the Buster Keaton catalog. The company has also released a variety of films nominated for the best foreign language Academy Awards, including “Timbuktu,” “Mustang,” and 2017’s winner “The Salesman.”

Landmark noted Tuesday that it was the first chain to introduce non-conventional seating with the installation of couches and love seats, along with the first to employ DCP digital projectors. Wagner and Cuban bought the chain from Oaktree Capital in 2003.

Cohen said in a statement, “I have been in the arthouse business for a long time as both a distributor and a producer, and I know better than most, that these films need a special home and require the utmost care. Landmark is that home. I have long admired and respected the way Landmark has built and grown its business from the ground up and I love this area of the business.“

Mundorff told Variety he was friends with Cohen and had known him for years, making the transition an easier one.

“Charles is a great guy,” he said. “In this case the phrase ‘the devil you know’ isn’t applicable.”

Stephens Inc. served as exclusive financial adviser to Landmark in the transaction.

More Film

  • Dami Im and Bong Joon-Ho'Parasite' premiere,

    ‘Parasite’ Wins Sydney Film Festival

    “Parasite,” the South Korean black drama that previously won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, was Sunday named as the winner of the Sydney Film Festival. After collecting a cash prize of A$60,000 ($41,200), at Sydney’s State Theatre, “Parasite” director said: “This Festival is really amazing, especially the audience…really special and extraordinary. This is the most [...]

  • China Film Group's Jiang Ping

    Shanghai: China Studio Chiefs Debate Winter Chills and U.S. Rivalry

    The Shanghai International Film Festival pulled off the impressive feat of assembling leading executives from seven of China’s top film studios. Their discussion focused on the problems that have recently beset the production sector and the industry’s relationship with Hollywood. “The film industry achieved great things in 2018, but it was also the year that [...]

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping claps while

    Propaganda Films to Dominate Chinese Theaters in Anniversary Year

    A presentation at the Shanghai International Film Festival on Sunday shed light on the welter of propaganda films that will compete with Hollywood blockbusters for the attention of Chinese cinema goers in the second half of this year. This year is laden with political significance for China’s ruling Communist Party. It is 100 years since [...]

  • Leung Chiu-wai

    Tony Leung to Star in Shanghai Film Group's 'Fox Hunt' Police Action Film

    Hong Kong’s Tony Leung Chiu-wai and mainland China’s Duan Yihong will head the cast of the Shanghai Film Group’s upcoming “Fox Hunt.” The film is based on real live events and depicts the activities of Operation Fox Hunt, a worldwide anti-corruption initiative managed by China’s Ministry of Public Security. The operation seeks to find and [...]

  • Wings Over Everest

    Terence Chang's 'Wings Over Everest' Set to Swell China's Rescue Film Genre

    “Wings over Everest,” a new action adventure film from veteran producer Terence Chang and “Wolf Warrior 2” producer Lu Jianmin, is poised to join the burgeoning Chinese sub-genre of rescue movies.   The Chinese- and English-language film stars Chinese actress Zhang Jingchu (“Project Gutenberg”; “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation”), Japanese actor Koji Yakusho (“Babel”; “Memoirs of a [...]

  • The Eight Hundred (The 800)

    China Film Marketing Firms Must Adapt To Internet Age, Says Huayi's Jerry Ye

    Huayi Brothers Pictures CEO and media group VP Jerry Ye made no mention Sunday of the abrupt cancellation of the premiere for his firm’s highly anticipated war epic “The Eight Hundred,” which was set to be the Shanghai Intl. Film Festival’s opening film the night before. Instead, he looked to the future at a panel [...]

  • The Meg

    Chinese Script Development Requires A Different Touch, Top Producers Say

    Leading film producers highlighted the challenges of developing good scripts in China and abroad at a panel during the Shanghai International Film Festival on Sunday. Wanda Media GM Jiang Wei (aka Wayne Jiang) recommended that producers remain aware of the real differences between the scriptwriting process for Chinese productions versus international and co-productions. The fundamental [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content