Former AMC exec Greg Rutkowski dies at 64
Greg Rutkowski, a leading theatrical exhibition executive, passed away on Nov. 28 in Los Angeles from pancreatic cancer. He was 64 years old.
Rutkowski had an outstanding 20-year career with AMC Theatres and was a key player in expanding the circuit and introducing numerous marketing initiatives. During his tenure, the company expanded its corporate operations into five divisions, established its Training Academy, introduced the first cupholder armrest, rolled out a computerized box office and went public on the NASDAQ and American Stock Exchanges. He was integral to the circuit’s expansion, especially in Los Angeles, including their flagship Century 14 and one of the first high-volume theatres in Burbank, the Burbank 10. He also was instrumental in changing the face of the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. His decision to open AMC’s Santa Monica 7 Theatres provided the impetus for other theatres and upscale retail stores to move into the area.
Some of Rutkowski’s many marketing initiatives included launching the “Silence Is Golden” program which reminded patrons not to talk during the movies, introducing “Clip” as the company-wide mascot in their feature presentation trailers, and rolling out the industry's first wide-scale guest loyalty program with the AMC MovieWatcher Club.
After AMC, Rutkowski had a number of senior management positions on both the exhibition side as well as distribution. He co-founded (with Jonathan Dern) The Bigger Picture, which was a pioneer in the development and introduction of digitally delivered content and films for theatrical exhibition. In 2008, The Bigger Picture was sold to Access Integrated Technologies, which is now Cinedigm Digital.
During Rutkowski’s career, he worked for two other exhibition companies, including overseeing all site selection for the newly launched Sundance Cinemas where he was executive VP and chief operating officer. And at Century Theatres, as executive VP of corporate development, he expanded the circuit with an additional 525 screens in 11 states within two years.
Most recently, Rutkowski owned and operated Digital Attractions, a marketing and distribution company for independent and specialized film.
Rutkowski is survived by his daughter Jennifer Wilkinson, granddaughters Orly and Nya Wilkinson, and sisters Gerry Hannan and Mary Brooks.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested memorial donations be made to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer (www.lustgarten.org) or the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation (www.wrpioneers.org).