THR's Women in Entertainment 2011: Power 100
This year has offered Redstone some time to focus. At the top of her list was the fine-tuning of her role with National Amusements in the wake of the sale of 35 theaters and other financial problems stemming from the recession that began in 2008. In the meantime, her often tumultuous relationship with her 88-year-old father, Sumner, seemed to calm down, or at least didn't result in public feuding. That may be because she stayed out of the affairs of Viacom and CBS, which are both controlled through National Amusements. (She and two non-family members will run a trust that will inherit Sumner's stock when he dies, holding it for his grandchildren.)
Shari and Sumner's New England-based theater company operates about 950 screens, roughly half of which are in six eastern U.S. states, with the rest in the U.K. and Latin America, where Shari, 57, has been especially aggressive expanding theater operations in Brazil. She's also been leading the charge toward modern digital technology and upgrading to Imax and premium services, such as serving food and beverages, often under the Cinema de Lux brand.
She was not shy about making it known that she feels there are too many movie theaters in the U.S. for any to be profitable, and she made public her opposition to premium VOD distribution of movies a short time after they open in theaters, putting her at odds with some plans by Viacom's Paramount Pictures. A company she led sold movie theaters in Russia for almost $200 million about a year after the theaters were acquired from National Amusements, when it needed to raise funds; she is reported to have made a sizable profit from the sale.
Redstone also launched Advancit Capital this year and is managing partner of the smallish venture capital firm focused on early-stage investments in media, entertainment and technology. She joined the board and executive committee of Our Time, a membership organization that promotes the economic interests of 18-to-30-year-old Americans. Redstone, who has homes in Massachusetts and New York, is divorced and has three grown children.
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