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Erik Lomis, MGM Executive and Pillar of the Distribution Community, Dies at 64

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Erik Lomis, the beloved head of distribution at MGM and United Artists Releasing, died suddenly at his home in Santa Monica, California on Wednesday. He was 64.

According to Deadline, which first reported the news of his passing, Lomis grew up in the exhibition business, as his father, Irv, worked for the Philadelphia theater chain Sameric Corp. Lomis learned the biz from the ground up, starting out as an usher at a local Philly theater before following in his father’s footsteps and joining Sameric, where he eventually became the chain’s head buyer. When the nation’s largest chain at the time, United Artists Theatres, took over Sameric, Lomis became the head of the company’s national film department.

Lomis eventually made his way to MGM, where he served as President of Domestic Distribution from 2000-2005, overseeing distribution for four James Bond movies as well as franchise-launching hits such as Legally Blonde and Barbershop. Following a five-year tour of duty at the Weinstein Company and a stint at Megan Ellison‘s Annapurna Pictures he later returned to serve as MGM’s President of Worldwide Theatrical Distribution, Home Entertainment & Acquisitions.

While at TWC, Lomis oversaw the release of Quentin Tarantino‘s biggest hits, Django Unchained and Inglourious Basterds, and when Tarantino wanted to release The Hateful Eight in 70mm, it was Lomis who set out to satisfy the filmmaker by getting his hands on old projectors and outfitting theaters with them. At the film’s L.A. premiere, he even saved the day by heading up to the projection booth to fix a problem.

“We were lucky to work with Erik on Southpaw at Weinstein Co. My son and partner, Peter, loved Erik and our time with him was special,” producer Alan Riche wrote on Deadline.

Lomis decamped TWC for Annapurna in March 2016, and the company later entered a joint venture with MGM called United Artists Releasing, under which he released Ridley Scott‘s House of Gucci and Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Licorice Pizza. At MGM, he most recently released Michael B. Jordan‘s directorial debut Creed III, which he wisely moved out of Thanksgiving and away from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and championed a wide theatrical release for Ben Affleck‘s Air, which earned rave reviews out of SXSW.

Lomis was a highly-respected executive and a pillar of the distribution community who also ensured a theatrical release for Daniel Craig‘s final Bond movie No Time to Die during the pandemic, when multiple streamers were offering hundreds of millions for the movie.

Numerous studio distribution chiefs considered Lomis as a mentor, including Chris Aronson, Jim Orr, and David Spitz. He is survived by his wife, Lionsgate’s Patricia Laucella, his children, Natalia Jovovich, Nicole Rose Lomis, and Zach Lomis; his stepmother, Joanne Lomis; and his siblings, Sandy McGuigan and Charles Lomis.

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