A Family Business

In Focus

One needs to look no further than ShowEast’s Al Shapiro Distinguished Service Award Honoree to experience what it means to run a family company. There are many families that run and own movie circuits—names like Redstone, Marcus, Forman, Stembler and Loeks, to cite a few. But the Bagby family truly epitomizes a family-run operation, led by CEO Robert ”Bob” Bagby, his wife Bridget, and children Brock Bagby, Bobbie Bagby Ford and Brittanie Bagby Baker.

This annual award was named for Al Shapiro, head of distribution at New Line Cinema. Al loved ShowEast, supported it with films to screen and always had a high profile at the convention. He loved the movie business and was generous with his time for philanthropic causes. His untimely passing did not go unnoticed by the ShowEast executive committee, who decided to perpetuate his name and passion for the industry he loved.

Bob Bagby is the perfect choice to be this year’s recipient of this prestigious award. Bob certainly meets all the qualifications—love of the industry, family man, and supporter of industry conventions.

Bob and his family have grown B&B Theatres into one of the largest regional circuits in the U.S. The company operates 407 screens across 50 theatres in nine states. Yes, this is quite an achievement and success story, but what is most impressive is the spirit of integrity that guides B&B Theatres and Bob’s leadership.

It’s wonderful to listen to Bob’s children speak about their dad. Brittanie describes him as “a fantastic negotiator and very competitive, but he always comes out with his ethics intact.”

Bob credits the “youthful enthusiasm of his children” with helping keep B&B on the cutting edge of new developments. The family advocated for in-theatre bars, reclining seats and Premium Large Format screens. Bob contributes to the exhibition community by serving on CinemaCon’s convention committee and as the president of NATO of Kansas and Missouri, which recently merged with other regional NATO groups to form Theatre Owners of Mid-America (TOMA).

Film Journal International salutes Bob on this wonderful honor. We hope you enjoy reading our articles on Bob and his family in the November edition of Film Journal International.

Three Decades of ShowEast

It was 30 years ago when the curtain went up at the Resorts Hotel theatre in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Disney’s Tough Guys, starring Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster, appeared on the big screen. The picture quality was decent and the sound was just adequate, but it was the first film that helped launch ShowEast to the position of prominence it now enjoys in the motion picture industry.

Jump ahead 30 years: The theatre business has been totally transformed into the modern multiplex with digital and laser projection, immersive audio, in-theatre dining, reclining seats and more. And so has ShowEast traveled well into the 21st century.

The one thing that remains constant at the annual convention is film. Film has and will always be the main focus of ShowEast. It is the driving force behind this gathering, and 2016 could be a record year for quantity and quality of film. Eight features from seven companies will highlight the schedule: Sing, Bleed for This, Collateral Beauty, Office Christmas Party, Gifted, Moana, Split and La La Land. These films join a group of more than 282 that have played the screening rooms of Resorts, the Taj Mahal, AMC Pleasure Island, and now in 2016 the Regal South Beach Stadium 18.

Tim Warner, Spencer Klein and Bob Bagby are just three of the award winners this year. They are filling the ranks of such industry icons as Salah Hassanein, Sumner Redstone, Bernie Myerson and more recently Dan Fellman, Nick Carpou and Ellis Jacob. Looking at the list of VIPs honored over the past 30 years is akin to a Who’s Who of the Industry.

Although content, programming and new technologies are the mainstay of the event, one of the most moving aspects of the convention is the Hall of Fame Luncheon on Thursday, the final day of the convention. It’s at this event that the industry salutes its own for their contributions to the film business. It’s a time when both big and small executives are thanked for their passion and commitment to this great industry. Many years ago, when Ralph Donnelly, an independent exhibitor, was inducted into the Hall of Fame, he said, “Isn’t it wonderful that ShowEast also remembers the little guys?” This tradition lives on each year at ShowEast.

For many people who have traveled this rewarding road, you will enjoy reading a timeline in the November edition of Film Journal international that scans 30 years of ShowEast and its roster of screenings and honorees.

Finally, we want to single out and thank the six regional NATO groups of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, TONE, Pennsylvania and Mid-Atlantic NATO who came together to create ShowEast. Men like Carl Goldman, Jerry Gordon, Charlie Fogel, Donald Busch, Jesse Sayeth and Sperie Perakos are the true pioneers of ShowEast.