Morristown, NJ and Los Angeles, CA -- The Board of Directors of Cinedigm Digital Cinema Corp. (NASDAQ:CIDM), the leader in the digital cinema industry, today announced that Chris McGurk has been named Chief Executive Officer, effectively immediately. Mr. McGurk was also elected Chairman of the Company's Board of Directors.
Mr. McGurk, 53, has had a long and successful career in the film and television industry. Mr. McGurk was the founder and CEO of Overture Films from 2006 until 2010 and was also CEO of Anchor Bay Entertainment, which distributed Overture Films' product to the home entertainment industry. From 1999 to 2005, McGurk was Vice Chairman of the Board and Chief Operating Officer of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. ("MGM"), acting as the company's lead operating executive until MGM was sold for approximately $5 billion to a consortium of investors. McGurk joined MGM from Universal Pictures, where he served in various executive capacities, including President and Chief Operating Officer, from 1996 to 1999. From 1988 to 1996, McGurk served in several senior executive roles at The Walt Disney Studios, including Studios CFO and President of The Walt Disney Motion Picture Group. McGurk currently serves as a director of BRE Properties, Inc. and has previously served on the boards of DivX Inc., DIC Entertainment, Pricegrabber.com, LLC and MGM Studios, Inc.
"Having closely watched the rollout of the Cinedigm platform, I am honored and excited to join the exceptional team at Cinedigm Digital Cinema," said Mr. McGurk. "The industry is fast approaching 20,000 screens converting to digital, and this rapid transformation is largely a consequence of Cinedigm's foresight and leadership. Cinedigm has extraordinary prospects to further grow its business and I look forward to assisting in the Company's ongoing development and success."
Mr. McGurk continued, "I am very comfortable with and committed to the mission of Cinedigm. The Company will continue to rapidly expand its comprehensive digital cinema technology and service platform and leverage it with industry leading software applications as well as through the marketing and distribution of alternative entertainment content, including 3D films, live special events such as concerts and major sporting events, and regularly scheduled programming. Cinedigm's platform will also be an increasingly important conduit for the distribution of independent films. Our primary goal will remain to provide our exhibitor, studio and content partners with the platform, services and tools to capture the potential created by the digital conversion of theaters."
"We are extremely pleased to have Chris McGurk lead our Company going forward," commented Ned Gilhuly, founder of Sageview Capital, and a member of Cinedigm's Board of Directors and Search Committee. "He has an ideal mix of relevant industry experience, strategic insight and demonstrated leadership ability to help drive Cinedigm to the next level. As a Board, we are confident he has the industry stature and the skills to accelerate Cinedigm's progress in its mission to become a leading provider of comprehensive digital cinema technology and services, and compelling alternative entertainment content."
"I am impressed with the progress Cinedigm has made in the past six months, under the leadership of co-Chief Executive Officers Adam Mizel and Gary Loffredo," Mr. McGurk continued. "The significant advances the Company has made during this period have positioned Cinedigm well for the future. I greatly appreciate their commitment to continue their outstanding contributions at Cinedigm, and look forward to working closely with all of the management team in the pursuit of our strategy."
"Finally, I am looking forward to working with our newest board member, Peter Brown, who is widely acknowledged as an exhibition industry leader through his prior long term role as Chairman and CEO of AMC Entertainment. This further demonstrates the Company's commitment to attracting the best and most experienced talent to support its solid growth opportunities."
Mr. McGurk will be located in the Company's Los Angeles office. In addition to a significant personal purchase of common stock in Cinedigm, he will receive an option grant to align his interests with those of our shareholders. Under the terms of his employment agreement, pursuant to NASDAQ listing Rule 5635(c)(4), Mr. McGurk will receive an inducement grant of non-statutory options to purchase 4,500,000 shares of the Company's Common Stock (the "Options"). The Options are grouped in three tranches, consisting of Options for 1,500,000 shares having an exercise price of $1.50 per share, Options for 2,500,000 shares having an exercise price of $3.00 per share and Options for 500,000 shares having an exercise price of $5.00 per share. One-third of the Options in each tranche vest on January 3 of each of 2012, 2013 and 2014 and all of the Options have a term of ten (10) years.
Olivia Wilde, costar of TRON: Legacy, was just cast in Dreamworks' upcoming film Welcome to People. Wilde joins a cast that includes Chris Pine (Star Trek) and Elizabeth Banks (The Next Three Days), and will play the Pine character's girlfriend. Directed by Alex Kurtzman from a script he co-wrote with Jody Lambert and regular collaborator Roberto Orci, the film follows a business man (played by Pine) who after the death of his father discovers for the first time that he has an alcoholic sister (Banks) with a 12-year-old son.
Wilde's profile has steadily risen over the last few years. In addition to her current role in TRON: Legacy, for which BoxofficeMagazine.com interviewed her last month, she will appear in Jon Favreau's Cowboys & Aliens, which was adapted for the screen by Kurtzman and Orci, as well as The Change-Up with Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman, and Now with Cillian Murphy, Amanda Seyfried and Justin Timberlake.
Meanwhile, Welcome to People marks a significant departure for Kurtzman and Orci, whose previous work has primarily focused on genre fare, such as Star Trek, Mission: Impossible III, and the first two Transformers films.
Although pundits have pre-emptively announced the death of big-screen 3D after the underwhelming commercial success of recent releases like TRON: Legacy and The Nutcracker, home video divisions of many studios, including TRON distributor Walt Disney Studios, are mounting ambitious campaigns to bring the technology into consumers' living rooms. On Monday, Disney announced a sizable slate of 3D releases in the coming months, including both current titles and a handful of classics post-converted into the 3D format.
Although the announcement did not include specific release dates for any of the titles mentioned, Disney plans to offer at least 15 titles in 3D in 2011, starting with day-and-date releases of both TRON: Legacy and Tangled, their two biggest releases from the fourth quarter of 2010. Additionally, Disney announced plans to release post-converted versions of The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast, as well as 3D versions of many of their films from recent years that were released in both 2D and 3D formats, including Bolt, Meet the Robinsons, Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, G-Force, and Chicken Little. The studio already released Alice in Wonderland, A Christmas Carol, and Step Up 3 in 2010, bringing their slate of 3D titles to almost 20 by the end of 2011.
According to Lori MacPherson, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, the release schedule will offer consumers more choices and improved presentation of titles both new and old. "As our contemporary library of 3D content continues to grow, and the original artists and filmmakers meticulously ‘dimensionalize' their work for release on the Blu-ray 3D format, we will be offering movie- lovers the most incredible in-home entertainment experience they will ever have," says MacPherson.
Other details on the releases were scarce, but the press release issued in conjunction with the announcement indicated that each release will be designed in 3D from top to bottom, featuring 3D menus, previews of coming attractions, and "an introduction to the eye-popping world of Disney Blu-ray 3D featuring beloved characters Timon and Pumbaa from The Lion King."
The winners of the 2010 Online Film Critics Society Awards:
Best Picture: The Social Network
Best Director: David Fincher, The Social Network
Best Lead Actor: Colin Firth, The King's Speech
Best Lead Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Supporting Actress: Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Best Original Screenplay: Christopher Nolan, Inception
Best Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Best Cinematography: Roger Deakins, True Grit
Best Editing: Lee Smith, Inception
Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 3
Best Foreign Language Film: Mother
Best Documentary: Exit Through The Gift Shop