Erik Lomis, MGM’s head of distribution, has died at the age of 64

An excellent box office and distribution strategist, Lomis cared deeply about his work. His latest effort will be seen in the theatrical release of Ben Affleck’s “Air.”

Erik Lomis, head of theatrical distribution for MGM, died Wednesday in Santa Monica, California. He was 64 years old. The cause of death has not been confirmed.

For three decades, Lomis led distribution at MGM in its two incarnations, as well as at The Weinstein Company, Annapurna Pictures and United Artists, where he spent years overseeing the James Bond franchise. Titles he handled during his career included “The Artist,” “The Iron Lady,” “The King’s Speech,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Django Unchained” and “The Imitation Game,” as well as “Inherent Vice.” and “If Beale Street Could Talk.”

Before moving into distribution, Lomis was the senior film buyer for Philadephia’s Sameric Theaters, which consists of more than 100 theaters in the Northeast. He later became a major film buyer for United Artists Theaters, which acquired the Sameric chain.

Lomis was a second-generation distributor: His father, Irving Lomis, was also a film buyer at Sameric and a district manager at Embassy Pictures, a producer-distributor with titles such as The Graduate, Lion in Winter and The Pawnbroker. Irving Lomis was inducted into the ShowEast (predecessor to CinemaCon) Hall of Fame in 2002.

Erik Lomis was not afraid to advocate unusual or creative distribution strategies. While president of distribution at UA, he released Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2021 “Licorice Pizza” with a slow burn of single-screen 70mm trailers while the rest of the country had to wait another month for Christmas Day.

From 2001 to 2004, Lomis worked with the late Bingham Ray, who was UA’s president during a period when the company focused on specialty titles. Both were passionate advocates for the movies and their respective beliefs, which was not always an easy partnership: Ray was the quixotic creative, Lomis the box-office strategist, and neither was angry when they felt the occasion called for it.

This ability to stand his ground stood Lomis in good stead when he moved to The Weinstein Company. Based in Los Angeles, she went toe-to-toe with the impossible owner and survived the experience.

He rejoined MGM in 2022 after it was acquired by Amazon. Most recently, he handled the release of “Creed III” and engineered the aggressive theatrical strategy for the upcoming Ben Affleck and Matt Damon film “Air.” His unexpected departure leaves a huge gap in institutional knowledge at MGM and Amazon, as well as the industry as a whole.

Lomis was born in 1958, grew up in Philadelphia, and attended Thomas Jefferson University, graduating in 1980. Lomis is survived by his wife, Patricia Laucella. his children, Natalia Jovovich, Nicole Rose Lomis and Zach Lomis; his stepmother, Joanne Lomis; and his sister and brother, Sandy McGuigan and Charles Lomis.

Tom Brueggemann contributed to this report.

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