Nikkole Denson-Randolph
Vice president of specialty and alternative content, AMC Theatres

New Films for New Audiences

Can the Movie Theater Be Saved? While Hollywood sticks with the same old ideas--bigger, pricier blockbusters--these outsiders are making real changes

Nikkole Denson-Randolph

Vice president of specialty and alternative content,
AMC Theatres

Most blockbusters target a homogenous audience. Denson-Randolph, a vet of Starbucks and Magic Johnson Entertainment, selects smaller movies to draw diverse crowds into the nation's second-largest movie-theater chain.

The Indie Insider

"The footprint of our theaters is unlike those of our competitors. We're very urban-centric. And we know that the country is only becoming more diverse. We were already reaching a large African-American and Latino audience, but we also started seeing patterns of Chinese and Indian audiences. They want authentic films that reflect their lives.

When a large movie studio attempts to do a film for a very specific culture, it may get lost, because it's not what the studios know or do best. We coach smaller filmmakers on how to selfdistribute to us. It's a collaborative effort. I ask them, Who do you believe your audience is?

We want to make sure a filmmaker will market to their audience. Take Mindless Behavior: All Around the World, a documentary about an African- American boy band. We wanted their record label to reach out to its huge following online. We ended up opening it on more than 100 screens. It did a very respectable business.

Commercial films are the meat and potatoes of large commercial exhibitors, so smaller films take some internal nudging. If a third screen of The Avengers still makes several thousand dollars a week, I'm on the hook if we replace it with a little gem that does a few hundred dollars. But when the films work, everyone wins."

Fast Talk: Can the Movie Theater Be Saved?

[Photo by Zen Sekizawa]

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