Iconic Events, a new player in the growing event cinema sector in North America, has named industry veteran Steve Bunnell as the company’s CEO along with announcing a launch network of over 1,000 locations from some of the country’s most infliential circuits.
The announcement was made by Iconic Events Executive Chairman Michael Lambert, who founded Iconic Events in 2019 along with former Cinemark CEO Tim Warner and several colleagues with a background in the exhibition and entertainment industries. The company’s management team also includes SpecitCast and CineLife Entertainment alum Mark Rupp as CFO/COO and marketing veteran Steven Menkin as CMO.
“Now, more than ever, theaters need the additional programming choices like those being offered by Iconic. We already have access to over one thousand theaters representing nearly ten thousand screens in the US, with more live-capable theaters being added every day,” said Bunnell. “There’s enormous potential for growth in this sector of the business in the United States by making this content broadly available to any and all exhibitors, and I’m tremendously excited to be leading Iconic’s efforts. Putting optionality into the hands of exhibition and giving them more choices for their customers couldn’t be more important.”
Prior to taking on the CEO role at Iconic Events, Bunnell helmed bookings for Alamo Drafthouse as the circuit’s SVP, Film Content Buying Licensing. Previous roles include stints as chief content officer at Regal Entertainment Group, a position he has also held at Cinemark, EVP/general sales manager at Universal Pictures, and head film buyer at Loews Cineplex Theaters.
Iconic Events ramped up its theatrical offerings in 2021 with a slate of high-profile UFC mixed martial arts engagements for cinemas that will extend through this summer’s re-match between Connor McGregor and Dustin Porier. In May, it will handle the theatrical roll-out of the highly-anticipated boxing match between Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders through a new partnership with the sports streaming service DAZN.
“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 and 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, make him uniquely qualified and perfectly suited to lead Iconic as we broaden our programming and extend into categories including concerts, music videos, live Q and A’s for premieres of new movies, cast reunions of classic movies, Anime, premiere episodes of beloved series from networks and streamers and even regional and local sports.”
The event cinema sector has welcomed a slew of new players in the United States over the past couple of years. The sector could emerge from the pandemic with potential upside following the shortening of theatrical exclusivity windows between exhibitors and major studios.
“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.
Updates on the company’s 2021 slate and leadership announcements can be found on Iconic Events’ official website.
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