A-List Executive: Elizabeth Frank oversees programming at AMC

Cinemas Features

“The moviegoing experience is better than it ever has been,” explains Elizabeth Frank, executive VP and chief content and programming officer at AMC Theatres. Technology is improving, luxury seating is on the rise and moviegoers who want to plop down their $8.97 to see a movie (2017’s average ticket price, calculated by NATO) have more food and beverage options to take advantage of than ever before.

“Moviegoing,” notes Frank, “has always been the most affordable [form of entertainment]”—a more financially reasonable option than taking the family out to a sports event or live theatre. No doubt about it, 2018 is a good year for the movies—and a good year for AMC, North America’s largest exhibitor. And part of that is because of Frank, justly named #2 on Celluloid Junkie’s 2018 list of the “Top 50 Women in Global Cinema.” “It is a great honor to be recognized with so many talented and committed executives,” Frank says.

Frank is approaching her decade mark at AMC, having joined the company in 2010 as senior VP, strategy and strategic partnerships, a role she held until assuming her current position in 2012. Her first job, she explains, was “working for an independent distributor. For many years I worked on the content side of the industry. I was excited to join AMC to build stronger strategic and operational connections between content and consumers through exhibition/distribution partnerships.”

During Frank’s time at AMC, the company has been through a lot of changes. Chinese behemoth Wanda Film became their lead investor. AMC’s international acquisitions include Odeon/UCI and Nordic Cinemas, and they’ve moved into the Saudi Arabian market.

More recently, AMC got into the burgeoning subscription-service market with A-List, which lets subscribers enjoy three movies per week at AMC theatres on top of their already-existing AMC Stubs benefits. “Consumer response to AMC Stubs A-List has been very enthusiastic,” Frank says of this “high-value program,” which recently hit 400,000 members. “In the first few months of program operation, we’re seeing A-List members significantly increase their moviegoing frequency and bring more friends and family to the theatre as well.”

Expansion—whether of physical theatres or of services at already existing locations—is in the air for this moviegoing institution. For now, Frank says, AMC is going to be doubling down less on expanding to new markets (they’re already “the largest exhibitor in the world, with market-leading positions in both North America and EMEA”) than enhancing their existing theatres; it’s there that Frank sees AMC’s “strongest growth potential.”

“AMC is updating theatre interiors and introducing premium moviegoing formats, expanding food and beverage offerings and installing customer amenities and conveniences,” she says. “These improvements are attracting greater audiences across the United States and Europe.” In the United States alone, “AMC entertains over a quarter-billion people each year, drawing audiences of all ages, ethnicities, interests and affinities.”

Frank herself loves a good comedy: “Sharing the laughs with an audience makes the movie all the funnier.” It’s that shared experience that makes going to the movies so great—and what makes the theatrical industry, and AMC itself, such a vital part of the lives of so many.