Iconic Events was created last year by Michael Lambert, a longtime movie theater owner who currently serves as executive chairman, as well as former Cinemark CEO Tim Warner. It was formed to assist the film exhibition community in offering more programming choices for their cinema chains. Bunnell’s hiring comes as the company announces plans to recruit more movie theater chains movie theater chains, representing over 1,000 locations, to its scheduling lineup.
Lambert says Bunnell’s background — as an executive at Universal Pictures, chief content officer for Regal Entertainment Group and most recently as a senior VP at Alamo Drafthouse — makes him uniquely qualified to help grow Iconic Events.
“Iconic Events has had an incredible start by securing the rights to UFC fights, live boxing matches, and other highly desirable and marketable content for distribution to our growing network of movie theaters,” said Lambert. “Steve Bunnell understands the business like few others. His special vision for expanding live and other content through his relationships and experience on both sides of the theatrical aisle at Cinemark, Universal, Regal, and most recently Alamo Drafthouse, makes him uniquely qualified and perfectly suited to lead Iconic.”
Event cinema, the company says, is designed to boost engagement by offering stage access to rare concerns, live panels with A-list stars and directors for movie premieres, and cast reunions of popular films. That should be especially useful for theater operators after a brutal year in which many people opted to watch movies at home. As the movie business attempts to rebound following the pandemic, cinema owners will be tasked with reminding audiences of the joys of viewing blockbusters in a darkened theater with popcorn at the ready.
“More and more, the multiplex is seen not just as a local theater. It is a community entertainment center and an event destination. We are delighted to have such fantastic response from our community – they understand their customers want more event cinema in their theaters, and more importantly, they understand the upside for their bottom line – especially right now, when every dollar counts,” said Bunnell.