Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation (WRMPPF) is honoring one of their biggest champs this year with a posthumous recognition: late MGM and United Artists Distribution Boss Erik Lomis. The honor will be recognized at the October 4 dinner at The Beverly Hilton.
Lomis, who was a force in getting movie theaters back open as Covid quelled, and a proponent of the theatrical window with the release of the 007 title No Time to Die, passed away suddenly at 64 on March 22. Lomis was also known for his relentless and passionate fundraising for Will Rogers.
Lomis hosted last year’s Pioneer dinner which honored James Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson.
A tradition for more than 75 years, the Pioneer of the Year Award is bestowed upon esteemed and respected members in the motion picture industry whose corporate leadership, service to the community and commitment to philanthropy are exceptional. All proceeds raised at the event benefit WRMPPF’s Pioneers Assistance Fund, the only charity in the nation which provides financial assistance and supportive counseling to individuals in the motion picture distribution and exhibition community who are experiencing an accident, illness, injury or life-changing event. Additionally, social workers provide counseling, education, guidance and referrals to those in need.
“We are honored to celebrate Erik’s life and recognize his achievements in the motion picture industry with the Pioneer of the Year Award,” said Chris Aronson, President of Domestic Theatrical Distribution at Paramount Pictures and WRMPPF Past President and Chairman. “His distinguished leadership and contributions to the film business, along with his tremendous advocacy, generosity and support of humanitarian causes and philanthropic endeavors, made him a treasured pioneer to which we should all aspire to emulate. Erik’s spirit will continue to inspire many for years to come,” Aronson added.
Lomis achieved extraordinary success and was an admired leader in the motion picture business who handled numerous blockbusters and Academy Award-winning films during his three-decade career in Hollywood.
A Philadelphia native who cut his teeth as an usher in the city’s local cinema, Lomis worked at MGM from 1993-2011, leaving as president of worldwide distribution after strategizing for films including Legally Blonde, Barbershop, Rocky Balboa and the James Bond movies GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day.
Lomis then joined The Weinstein Co. and served through 2016 as president of worldwide theatrical distribution, home entertainment and acquisitions, overseeing films The Artist, The Iron Lady, Silver Linings Playbook, Django Unchained, The Imitation Game and The Hateful Eight.
2016 was also the year that Lomis launched the distribution and in-theater marketing departments at Meg Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures where he oversaw releases of Vice and If Beale Street Could Talk.
In 2019, Lomis transitioned to United Artists Releasing, the joint venture of MGM and Annapurna, that released No Time to Die which grossed more than $774 million worldwide, one of the highest grossing movies during Covid when theaters reopened around the world in 2021. Shortly before his passing, Lomis spearheaded Academy Award best picture nominee Women Talking, Creed III, and Air – all of which garnered tremendous success at the box office.
Past Pioneer of the Year honorees also include Tom Cruise, Donna Langley, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Elizabeth Banks, Jim Gianopulos, Dick Cook, Michael D. Eisner, Alan Horn, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Kathleen Kennedy, Sherry Lansing, Frank G. Mancuso, Sumner Redstone, Terry Semel, Tom Sherak, Jack Valenti, Jack Warner, Darryl F. Zanuck and Cecil B. DeMille.
Content Source: deadline.com