As movie theaters continue to recover from the pandemic, newly formed cinema event company Iconic Events has named former Alamo Drafthouse and Regal executive Steve Bunnell as its CEO on Wednesday.
The hire comes as Iconic has made deals with theater chains representing over 1,000 locations to add them to their network. Founded last year by former Cinemark CEO Tim Warner and former Village Roadshow co-chairman Michael Lambert, Iconic is looking to become a competitor in a space long dominated by Fathom Events, and which is becoming more popular with movie theaters trying to find as many revenue streams as possible to make up for a year's worth of lost profit thanks to COVID-19.
Over the past three months, Iconic has grown from a dozen test locations to over 150 theaters with live event capability. This was largely fueled by UFC events such as the bout between Dustin Poirier and the returning Conor McGregor in January and this past Sunday's welterweight title fight between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal. Iconic plans to continue presenting combat sports in theaters through partnerships with UFC and boxing streaming service DAZN.
Bunnell joins the company after handling booking for Alamo Drafthouse as SVP of Film Content Buying and Licensing. He also previously served as chief content officer at Regal Entertainment Group and Cinemark, as well as EVP/general sales manager at Universal Pictures.
"Now, more than ever, theaters need the additional programming choices like those being offered by Iconic. We already have access to over one thousand theaters representing nearly ten thousand screens in the US, with more live-capable theaters being added every day," said Bunnell in a statement.
"There's enormous potential for growth in this sector of the business in the United States by making this content broadly available to any and all exhibitors, and I'm tremendously excited to be leading Iconic's efforts," he added. "Putting optionality into the hands of exhibition and giving them more choices for their customers couldn't be more important."
"Steve Bunnell understands the business like few others. His special vision for expanding live and other content through his relationships and experience on both sides of the theatrical aisle at Cinemark, Universal, Regal, and most recently Alamo Drafthouse, makes him uniquely qualified and perfectly suited to lead Iconic as we broaden our programming and extend into categories including concerts, music videos, live Q and A's for premieres of new movies, cast reunions of classic movies, anime, premiere episodes of beloved series from networks and streamers and even regional and local sports."