Crowning achievement: Regal's Amy Miles reflects on top circuit's accomplishments
Amy Miles readily declares that being appointed CEO of Regal Entertainment Group in June 2009 was the most exciting event in her professional career. “I know I am blessed to have the opportunity to come to work every day to run the largest exhibition company in the United States, and being recognized for doing a job I love is icing on the cake.”
Entering her 14th year at the world’s largest cinema chain, the 2013 recipient of the CinemaCon Marquee Award is “extremely flattered” to be recognized by her collaborators and friends in theatrical exhibition and distribution. “Over the past several years, I have had the pleasure of getting to know many industry peers and have developed respect for these individuals in our business,” she says. “So I was truly honored to be recognized by the NATO membership.”
Miles is humble about seeing her name on this year’s Marquee. “It would be very difficult to highlight why I was uniquely qualified for the award, considering the sheer number of individuals in the industry deserving recognition.”
While Miles gratefully acknowledges that “I am the beneficiary of the efforts of my colleagues,” she gives particular thanks to her chairman of the board, Mike Campbell, “for giving me the many opportunities at Regal.” Winning the award “is not only a great personal honor, it is also a testament to the many successes accomplished by the entire Regal team.”
Among her personal successes are providing financial guidance to the company, beginning as senior VP of finance Regal Cinemas, Inc. in April 1999, and culminating in the position of executive VP, chief financial officer and treasurer in March 2002.
According to CinemaCon’s managing director, Mitch Neuhauser, Miles was singled out by NATO “for her unequaled dedication, commitment and service to the motion picture theatre industry… Amy Miles has proven herself time and time again as a strong and influential leader via her various executive roles within the industry.” In prior years, she served as NATO’s treasurer and currently chairs the Investment Committee while serving on the NATO Executive and Advisory Boards and on its Audit Committee as well. Miles is as a director on the boards of Regal Entertainment Group, National CineMedia, Variety of Eastern Tennessee and the Regal Foundation.
Given such a solid foundation in financial and institutional matters, the move to “running the entire show” did change her vantage point, Miles confirms. “Definitely. I realized I was assuming responsibility for the well-being of Regal Entertainment Group, and that realization immediately broadened my perspective. Due to our extensive preparation and, more importantly, due to the great team at Regal, the transition was very successful and I am extremely proud of our accomplishments. I have been CEO for approximately four years and remain honored to have the opportunity to lead a great organization with, in my opinion, the industry-leading team.”
With over 216 million guests last year, attending 6,862 screens in 538 theatres in 38 states and the District of Columbia (as of Feb. 21, 2013), she feels that Regal is very well-positioned now and going forward. “Our company remains vibrant and growing, as evidenced by our capacity to invest in our own new theatres while capitalizing at the same time on accretive acquisition opportunities.”
There have been no regrets about taking Regal Entertainment Group public, which might very well have been the biggest decision during her tenure. “We had a very successful public offering in May 2002, timed perfectly around a great opening of the movie Spider-Man. While we would like to say that was planned, the timing was pure luck.” Ever since, investors have been lucky too. “During our run as a public company, we have paid approximately $24 per share in dividends to our shareholders and generated average annual returns of approximately 10%. We believe our strategy of allocating financial resources to growing our business, reinvesting in our theatre assets and encouraging innovative partnerships, coupled with rewarding our shareholders with dividends, has served us well as a public company.”
The moviegoing public too has been well-served. “Our strategic goals are pretty simple. [They] share the common themes of improving the moviegoing experience for our customers, creating a solid environment for our employees and generating value for our shareholders. The tactical execution of improving the moviegoing experience will include adding premium options for both food and enhanced presentations. Regal has gleaned success with expanded concession offerings and premium presentations including IMAX and our proprietary large-format auditorium, RPX [FJI October 2010]. Also, I am optimistic that Regal is poised to take advantage of our size and incredible customer base by continuing to listen to our guests, by making compelling offers to consumers, by differentiating our theatres, and by making good use of all of our marketing tools [FJI April 2013]. I believe that technology is an asset to our business and we will continue to focus on investments in technology that improve the customer experience.”
What about her own moviegoing experience? Although it is “very difficult to pick just one,” the original 1977 release of Star Wars is “definitely at the top” of Miles’ list of favorite movies. Calling her taste “very traditional” when it comes to movie snacks, she goes with “popcorn and Diet Coke, occasionally with Junior Mints.” But a full house is definitely preferred. “For many years…my husband and I and our two sons hit blockbuster films on opening weekends and enjoyed a movie as early as possible in a packed auditorium. Now that our boys are older, my husband and I watch a wider array of films. However, my favorite viewings remain the big blockbusters on debut weekends. Perhaps I am also calculating the revenue as I enjoy those great films.”
Ten years from now, she will still be counting. “Absolutely. I have no doubt that people in the future will still seek ways to enjoy the best presentation available and to enjoy the communal activity of going out to our theatres. I am a firm believer that movies are made for the big screen, and in spite of all the changes in home-entertainment options, it is hard to compete with the ‘wow’ factor of a night out at the movies. That being said, we value the patronage of our customers and understand we have the responsibility of providing an experience that drives guests back to our theatres. We are constantly looking at ways to improve what we offer customers and commit significant dollars each year with the goal of improving the guest experience.”