Landmark Theatres Sells to Billionaire Charles S. Cohen's Indie Film Company

Laura Cavanaugh/FilmMagic
Charles S. Cohen

Cohen Media Group closed the deal with Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner's 2929 Entertainment on Tuesday. Landmark president-CEO Ted Mundorff will stay in the top job.

Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner have found a buyer for their Landmark Theatres: Cohen Media Group, an indie film company owned by billionaire real estate developer and devoted cinephile Charles S. Cohen. The deal closed Tuesday.

Landmark is the country's largest independent theater chain dedicated to showcasing specialty films, operating 56 theaters in 27 markets — including the popular, upscale Landmark location in West Los Angeles and the newer The Landmark at 57 West in New York City, where Cohen has long been based.

The sale price wasn't disclosed, although sources say it was likely in the $70 million to $75 million range.

Landmark Theatres president-CEO Ted Mundorff will remain in his job, as will the rest of his senior management team.

Wagner and Cuban's 2929 Entertainment, which purchased Landmark in 2003, has been trying to sell the circuit since the spring, five years after an aborted sale attempt in 2013.

"As we complete the sale, we expect the transition between owners to be smooth and seamless with little or no impact to customers," Wagner and Cuban said in a statement.

Netflix was reportedly among those considering a bid for Landmark when it went on the block earlier this year, but never made a formal offer, according to sources. (The streamer already rents, or "four-walls," Landmark auditoriums for its awards films, such as Alfonso Cuaron's Roma.)

Cohen's decision to buy Landmark is a significant step in increasing his profile in the film space.

"Anyone who knows Charles knows he is an avid lover of art and cinema, and this deal to purchase Landmark serves so many of his true passions and interests," said Mundorff. "By acquiring our chain, he has supercharged and scaled his distribution footprint in the art house sector."

Said Cohen: "This is a phenomenal fit with our other businesses, and this deal will be welcome news to the filmmakers we do business with, or plan to work with, in the art house arena in the years ahead."

The deal follows Cohen's acquisition and renovation of the Quad Cinema in New York, where titles from Cohen Media's library, including restorations of classic movies from the Merchant Ivory collection and the Buster Keaton catalogue, are showcased.

The real estate mogul — the jewel in his crown is Los Angeles’ Pacific Design Center — founded the New York-based Cohen Media Group in 2008 after executive producing Frozen River. The company has focused on smaller indie films, including foreign-language entries such as Asghar Farhadi's The Salesman (2016), which won the Academy Award for best foreign-language film. Other CMG titles include Timbuktu and Mustang.

Stephens Inc. was the exclusive financial advisor to Landmark in the transaction.