By Robert Lenihan, President of Programming, AMC Theatres
It is my pleasure to have known Travis Reid professionally since the spring of 1977, when we were both 22-year-old novice film buyers, competing with each other for our respective theater companies (United Artists and Theatre Management Inc.) in San Francisco. It has been my honor to be his friend for nearly all of those 40 years.
In those days every major city in the U.S. had studio branch offices, and virtually all of those cities were home to local exhibitors, with theater chains comprising single, twin, triple or (in some rare cases) four-screen theaters. The “death knell” of the exhibition business in the 1970s was sounded by the advent of the video cassette. Imagine not having to wait to watch the annual broadcast of The Wizard of Oz in the comfort of your home, and owning your own copy that you could watch over and over again—as many times as you liked!
It is astounding to reflect on how drastically our business has evolved since those days, and throughout that evolution, Travis Reid has always been at the vanguard.
In 1987, Paramount Pictures had recently acquired LA-based Mann Theatres and Festival Cinemas, a Northern California–based chain. As head film buyer for Mann, I was charged with finding someone to assist in improving film-buying responsibilities for the expanding circuit. My list of “candidates” consisted of one name—Travis Reid.
Travis served as head film buyer for Cineamerica / Mann Theatres until 1990 before joining General Cinema for a short stint as VP of film, and then began a remarkable ascent at Loews, where from 1991 to 2006 he rose from SVP of film programming to EVP, then to president of Loews Theatres, president of newly merged Loews Cineplex Entertainment, and finally, president and CEO of LCE. I was fortunate to re-join Travis at Loews, also reuniting with our old Mann Theatres cohort Steve Bunnell. Loews at that time was also home to several current industry figures such as Spencer Klein, Lisa Bunnell, Phil Groves, Rich Manzione, John McCauly, and many others.
Travis was a key figure in executing the sale of LCE to Bain, Carlyle and Spectrum (for $1.5B) and merging with AMC where he served as a board member until 2010.
From 2007 until 2010 he also occupied the role of CEO and chairman of DCIP, where he was the uniquely qualified individual most responsible for the conversion of North American theaters to digital, a herculean task that required cooperation and agreement between all studios and all exhibitors, as well.
Prior to Travis’s current role as COO of RealD, he was CEO of Screenvision for four years and even did a stint as the head of fledgling distribution start-up Broad Green Pictures.
While embarking on this remarkable career, Travis raised four wonderful children, all now adults: David Ogden, Sarah, Jake, and Dylan Reid. Truly the joys of his life.
Through the years he also actively served as a board member for Fandango, Yelmo Cineplex, Motion Picture Pioneers, NATO, and several others. Travis’s philanthropic endeavors brought him the Pioneer of the Year Award (2005), Willy Award (2001), and the Salah M. Hassanein Award (2003).
Eight years ago, as Travis was about to marry the light and love of his life, Sheila, they created a wedding website that included all pertinent details about the upcoming wedding. The night before the ceremony, I arranged a dinner celebration at Gotham in Manhattan with a few close friends. I got a call from Paul Rosenfeld who said, “Lenihan, you’re doing a great job as Travis’s best man!”
“I’m not the best man,” I said.
“You’re not? It says so on the website!”
So I called Travis and said, “Did I drink through a conversation we had where you asked me to be your best man?”
“No. You’re the best man.”
“Isn’t it customary to ask a guy to be your best man?”
“No. You’re the best man.”
So there you have it. When Travis Reid beckons, you better answer the call!
Congratulations to my good friend and my best man (when Carrie and I were married), Travis Reid.
Looking forward to the next 40 years!