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Steve Bunnell, a veteran executive at Regal and Alamo Drafthouse chains, is joining Marcus Theatres to oversee its content strategy and work on partnerships with film studios, the company said Tuesday. The exec will start at the Milwaukee-based chain beginning on March 6.
Bunnell will succeed longtime movie theater executive Sonny Gourley, who is retiring after ten years with Marcus, the fourth-largest chain in the U.S. behind AMC, Regal and Cinemark. In the role, the exec will work with studios and live events content providers to fill screens at Marcus’ theater locations.
“Steve will play a critical role in our efforts to create new guest programs, bring new content to our screens, and create fresh entertainment options to complement the moviegoing experience,” stated Marcus Theatres president Mark Gramz, who stepped in to the top role at the chain last year after the retirement of Rolando Rodriguez.
Bunnell most recently worked on the launch of event cinema company Iconic Events and had served as head of distribution at Briarcliff Entertainment/Open Road. He also held jobs as head film buyer at boutique upscale chain Alamo Drafthouse, was svp and chief content officer at the Cineworld-owned Regal Entertainment and was film buyer at Cinemark.
Marcus, which operates 84 locations in the U.S., posted $49 million in theater admission revenues and $44.7 million in concessions for its latest fiscal quarter ending Sept. 29, up from the same period in 2021, but down compared to pre-pandemic 2019.
“Cinemas are today’s community entertainment center,” added Bunnell. “Whether it’s a big action movie or a concert experience, people need and want to share these moments together.”
Unlike rival chains, Marcus Theatres is part of a larger parent corporation that has a hotel/resort division and real estate holdings that have helped diversify its revenue. Year to date, the stock for Marcus Corp. has risen nearly 9 percent.
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