“Our Friend Joe” — BoxOffice Hall Of Fame: Joe Peixoto

by Travis Reid, CEO, Screenvision

Who is Joe Peixoto … and why is it spelled that way?

Joe Peixoto has lots of friends, many of whom make up the fraternity of people who worked for, and were mentored by, our late, great friend Ted Mann. Joe and I are both proud to be “Mann Boys,” a group of guys who have stayed close, helped each other whenever possible, and have been lucky enough to do well in life. And Joe is among the best of us all.

As Joe’s friend, one has lots of adventures. Joe and I have rarely lived in the same part of the country and yet over nearly 40 years of friendship, we’ve been to each other’s weddings, met up at virtually every industry event for 30 years, gone to a football game in an RV, been to concerts together, gone to car races at Laguna Seca, and attended the New Orleans Jazz Festival.

And I’ve been to his beach house several times with my wife, with a group of friends, and once when I just needed a place to be. Our next adventure, for which I will rely on Joe’s Portuguese roots, will be sailing. Joe couldn’t be a better friend-though he does come with a warning: whatever happens, he won’t be the one who gets in trouble. A typical conversation with my wife after a late night out goes like this:

“Who was with you?”



“And Paul.”

“Lucky you got home at all.”

“And Joe.”

“Oh! How’s Joe?”

Joe, the Family Man
If you know Joe, you know his family. They are the most important thing in his life, and he loves to share with us what they are doing and how they are doing. When Joe moved up to San Francisco in 1977 for a very brief stay, I told him about some people he should meet, including my friends the Steele sisters. Joe met Jan Steele, married her within six months, and moved her to New York. Over the years they have lived in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Los Angeles again and have traveled the world together. Together they raised their children to believe they can be anything they dream to be and to go where their passions take them. They all took that to heart. Michael, the oldest at 33, and his wife, Maile, are both professors at the University of Oregon. David, 30, is a successful concept artist for Microsoft; he lives in Seattle with his wife, Elizabeth, a therapist who works with troubled children. And 29-year-old Christine is a professional ballerina with the Sarasota Ballet of Florida. Who knows what their 3-year-old granddaughter, Matilda, will do?

Joe, the Consummate Professional
Joe has pursued his career with energy, enthusiasm, and creativity, which has served him well in positions in distribution, exhibition, and technology. His successes have been on a global scale. He spent his first five years in the industry working at United Artists Distribution. Joe moved twice during that time and rose from an entry-level booker to a salesman to a sales manager. He later had two more stints in distribution, moving from UA to Associated Film Distribution and then later to De Laurentiis Entertainment Group. He went to work at Mann Theatres as a film buyer in 1980 and later moved to Metropolitan Theatres, where he held a general management position.

In 1992 Joe was hired by Paramount Studios as president of their Canadian exhibition chain, Famous Players, where he proved to be a more than formidable competitor to my company, Loews Cineplex. Joe completely reinvented Famous by developing innovative designs that created great customer experiences and enabled retail opportunities within the complexes. Joe’s work resulted in huge increases in attendance, revenue, and market share and influenced theater design well beyond the Canadian border.

Five years later, Joe moved to the CEO position of United Cinemas International, the largest international circuit in the world, with 1,100 screens located in 14 different countries. Joe applied many of the same ideas he had developed in Canada to great success around the world, leading to the sale of the circuit in 2004 to Terra Firma.

Perhaps Joe’s greatest success was at RealD, where he started in 2005. At that time Joe was the fourth member of the management team; they had no 3D screens deployed and there were no 3D films in production. Through Joe’s leadership and hard work, RealD is now by far the world’s largest 3D platform with over 25,000 screens.

Why Joe can spell Peixoto any way he wants
Several years ago, just as the ShoWest (now CinemaCon) convention was starting, a very close friend of ours experienced a devastating family crisis. Joe heard about the situation while on his way to a meeting in Las Vegas at ShoWest. He handed the person he was with his room key, asked him to send his luggage home, and got in a cab for the airport. He was on the next plane out and was with our friend within a couple of hours. And that story tells you all you need to know about Joe.