Thursday, June 13, 2024

Amazon MGM Head Of Specialty Theatrical Distribution Mark Boxer Exits – Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: Amazon MGM‘s Head of Specialty Theatrical Distribution, Mark Boxer, was among the notables cuts yesterday at the streaming theatrical studio.

Among some of Boxer’s highlights at Amazon, he oversaw the specialty theatrical releases of such Oscar nominated titles as Being the Ricardos, Poland’s 2018 International film entry Cold War, and 2x Oscar winner Sound of Metal.

With Amazon’s acquisition of MGM, Boxer was a key suit in getting Ben Affleck’s Air into theaters. He was also recently involved in the successful release strategies for awards season titles Saltburn, The Boys in the Boat and American Fiction.

During the pandemic, Boxer also handled the theatrical distribution of such big Prime Video acquisition titles, Coming 2 America, Cinderella, Hotel Transylvania 4, and The Tomorrow War to those cinemas and drive-ins that were lucky to be open.

Boxer also supervised the opening, and operated Amazon’s Culver Theater in Culver City, CA; the venue the studio took over from Arclight Cinemas.

One innovative stunt Boxer spearheaded was “Prime Premiere” nights at theaters. It was a one-night-only, once a month theatrical showing of series and movies, free to Prime Members. Those Prime members who visited the theater were treated to free popcorn, soda as well as a gift.

Boxer was tapped by then Amazon Head of Marketing and Distribution, Bob Berney, in September 2017. The New York-based film industry vet was an integral part of three different theatrical distribution phases at Amazon.

When Boxer arrived from IFC Films where he served as their EVP of Sales and Distribution, the fresh mandate for Amazon was to self-distribute its own theatrical titles; the studio previously relying on distribution partners such as Lionsgate, STX, Annapurna and Bleecker Street. As such, Boxer pioneered Amazon’s theatrical distribution in-house strategy, protecting theatrical windows on mid-budget and specialty fare. The exec oversaw a slate of some 12-14 titles initially that included Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here, Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria, Gus Van Sant’s Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, Mike Leigh’s Peterloo and Felix van Groeningen’s Beautiful Boy.

In late 2019 after a buying spree by Amazon at Sundance which included such titles as the Adam Driver political crime drama The Report, the company began adapting to a truncated theatrical window strategy, and in some cases a day-and-date with Prime Video release pattern. In fact, it was that type of dynamic distribution model Boxer pioneered during his tenure at IFC Films with such movies as Oscar nominee In the Loop.

Then, beginning in 2023, in the wake of the MGM purchase by the streamer, Boxer was a part of Amazon Studios’ return to a lengthy theatrical window, working on such movies as Air, Saltburn, American Fiction and Boys in the Boat.

At IFC Films, Boxer handled the theatrical release of Richard Linklater’s Oscar winner, Boyhood, as well as the non-theatrical, Canadian distribution and overall theatrical distribution of all IFC labels, including Sundance Selects and IFC Midnight. Throughout his career, and including his run at Amazon MGM, Boxer has had a big presence at film festivals, assessing product.

Boxer began his distribution career as a regional booker at Victor Kaufman and Lewis Korman’s Savoy Pictures where he booked such movies as Minnie Driver’s breakout Circle of Friends and Robert De Niro’s directorial debut Bronx Tale. Among Boxer’s mentors were the late Jimmy Spitz, who was Savoy’s distribution chief, as well as Steve Rothenberg, and John Gruenberg. After Savoy, Boxer’s career flourished at Sony where he distributed several wide releases during the late ’90s, and then Artisan Entertainment where he covered Central and East Coast film distribution and sales for 50-plus markets. Boxer handled distribution on Artisan’s 1999 breakout hit The Blair Witch Project ($140.5M).

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