A bit of a surprise for the exhibition industry: Landmark Theatres has been purchased by the Cohen Media Group from Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban’s Wagner/Cuban Companies. Based out of Los Angeles, Landmark Theatres boasts 252 screens in 27 markets across the United States. Founded in 1974, it has over the decades grown into a premier destination for independent and foreign cinema, with flagship destinations including New York City’s 57 West theatre.
Landmark has also proven itself as an innovator over the years, acting asap early adopter of non-traditional seating, like love seats and couches, and the use of DCP digital projectors.
Cohen Media Group, founded in 2008 by chairman Charles S. Cohen, comes at the independent film marketplace from the production and distribution side. The company’s recent theatrical releases include Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah: Four Sisters and Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti. They also handle theatrical runs for restorations of classic films.
Says Cohen in a statement, “As the country’s largest and most prestigious independent circuit, Landmark Theatres is the crown jewel of the arthouse exhibition industry, and this acquisition will be one of the pillars of our business. As we have continued to grow, we have targeted assets that complement our focus [on] distributing, producing, and restoring the world’s best contemporary and classic cinema. Landmark fits in perfectly with that strategy and with one pivotal deal, positions the Cohen Media Group Team to become one of the most important players in the world of independent film.”
Landmark’s President and CEO Ted Mundorff echoes Cohen’s optimism, noting that the purchase makes the Cohen Media Group a vertically integrated enterprise. “This was also the case when Cuban/Wagner owned Landmark,” he explains, as “they produced and distributed film, owned cable channels, and has theaters.” On Landmark’s side, the chain screens—and will continue to screen—“first run films from many sources,” including but not limited to the Cohen Media Group. One of those sources is Netflix, Landmark being the rare exhibitor that will screen Netflix titles day-and-date with their streaming debut. Per Mundorff, “Landmark’s deal with Netflix is not affected by a change in ownership.”
The terms of the Cohen Media Group acquisition have not been disclosed; per the joint announcement from Mundorff, Cohen, Todd Wagner, and Cuban, Landmark’s current senior management team will be retained.