Landmark Theatres, the nation’s largest specialized theater chain specializing in independent cinema, has been purchased by Cohen Media Group, the independent theatrical distribution and production company. The deal includes all of Landmark’s 252 screens in 27 markets. The announcement was made jointly today by Landmark Theatres President/CEO Ted Mundorff, Cohen Media Group Chairman Charles S. Cohen, Todd Wagner, and Mark Cuban. Cohen will retain the senior management team of Landmark Theatres.
Cuban has been reportedly seeking a new home for Landmark since April, when potential buyers included Amazon and Entertainment Studios owner Byron Allen. With Cohen, one of the country’s most significant arthouse chains is owned by an entrepreneur with a persistent interest in investing in theatrical operations.
“Anyone who knows Charles, knows he is an avid lover of art and cinema, and this deal to purchase Landmark serves so many of his true passions and interests,” said Mundorff in a statement. “By acquiring our chain, he has supercharged and scaled his distribution footprint in the arthouse sector, where he has been a savvy distributor and producer for many, many years. He has also acquired the crown jewel in the arthouse exhibition arena with prime A-list locations and an established loyal base of customers who love our theaters, brand, and diverse range of extraordinary, high-quality programming choices throughout the year.”
Landmark provides filmgoers amenities that include high-quality digital projection, comfortable seating, and gourmet concession items. Cohen also owns New York’s Quad Cinema, which he recently restored. Last year, he acquired the three-screen Larchmont Playhouse in Westchester County, the Carefree Theatre in West Palm Beach, and the historic La Pagode in Paris. In April, he told IndieWire, “It’s not about making a fortune. This is more about creating a culture resource — a community. It’s almost an act of philanthropy.”
The New York-based Cohen’s acquisition comes at a transitional moment in the New York arthouse scene, with Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema and the influential Lincoln Plaza Cinema both closing in 2017. That fall, Landmark opened The Landmark at 57 West, an eight-screen theater complex.
In a statement, Cohen said: “I have been in the arthouse business for a long time as both a distributor and a producer, and I know better than most, that these films need a special home and require the utmost care. Landmark is that home. I have long admired and respected the way Landmark has built and grown its business from the ground up and I love this area of the business. … This is a phenomenal fit with our other businesses, and this deal will be welcome news to the filmmakers we do business with or plan to work with in the arthouse arena in the years ahead.”
Cohen formed Cohen Media Group in 2008, with an eye toward releasing the world’s best in contemporary and classic cinema. CMG distributes select films throughout North America, including multiple Academy Award-nominated films such as “Timbuktu,” “Mustang,” and 2017’s Academy Award winner, “The Salesman.”
CMG also restores classic films under the label Cohen Film Collection. The restorations, which include the Merchant Ivory collection and the Buster Keaton catalogue, are re-released theatrically in pristine transfers and presentations.