Erik Lomis, Veteran Studio Distribution Executive, Dies at 64
Erik Lomis, the admired distribution executive who handled numerous blockbusters and Oscar winners during his three-decade career in Hollywood, died suddenly Wednesday at his home in Santa Monica. He was 64.
As MGM’s head of distribution, Lomis was in the midst of helping parent company Amazon Studios prepare for the release of Ben Affleck’s Air, which opens in theaters April 5. Amazon recently signed Lomis to a new deal after officially acquiring the storied film studio.
Lomis watched over the box office like a hawk and was renowned for his detailed notes analyzing the theatrical lineup every weekend.
The Philadelphia native worked at MGM from 1993-2011, leaving as president of worldwide distribution after strategizing on such films as Legally Blonde (2001), Barbershop (2002) and the James Bond films Goldeneye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999) and Die Another Day (2002).
He joined The Weinstein Co. and served through 2016 as president of worldwide theatrical distribution, home entertainment and acquisitions, shepherding such releases as The Artist (2011), The Iron Lady (2011), Silver Linings Playbook (2012), Django Unchained (2012), The Imitation Game (2014) and The Hateful Eight (2015).
Lomis launched a distribution division and in-theater marketing department at Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures in 2016 (he handled the 2018 films Vice and If Beale Street Could Talk there) before segueing in 2019 to United Artists Releasing, the joint venture of MGM and Annapurna that rolled out No Time to Die (2021) during the immense challenges of COVID-19.
MGM absorbed UAR after the Amazon purchase, and Lomis recently spearheaded the releases of the best picture Oscar nominee Women Talking and Creed III.
Along the way, he fostered long-standing relationships with such filmmakers as Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, Quentin Tarantino, Paul Thomas Anderson, Sylvester Stallone, Irwin Winkler and Ryan Coogler.
Born on Nov. 21, 1958, Lomis began his career in film during his teenage years when he worked after school as a movie usher. He served as the head film buyer for the Philadelphia-based Sameric Theatres and was there when the original Star Wars was coming to the big screen in 1977.
“In the months before it opened, a lot of the older guys thought of Star Wars as a kiddie movie,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in 2015. “The cast meant nothing, and no one knew who George Lucas was. [At Sameric], we thought we got hosed because the competition got the big ‘A track’ picture, The Other Side of Midnight.”
He then headed the national film department at United Artists Theatres, the nation’s largest exhibition chain.
Though ultimately disappointed, Lomis had a rewarding last few months as a big Philadelphia Phillies and Eagles fan, and he was thrilled to attend the Super Bowl last month in Arizona.
Survivors include his wife, Patricia Laucella, executive vp business and legal affairs at Lionsgate; his children, Natalia, Nicole Rose and Zach; his stepmother, Joanne; his sister, Sandy; and his brother, Charles.
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