Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation (WRMPPF) announced Friday that the late MGM and United Artists Releasing Distribution Chief Erik Lomis will be recognized posthumously with the 2023 Pioneer of the Year Award on October 4th at The Beverly Hilton.
A tradition for more than 75 years, the Pioneer of the Year Award is bestowed upon esteemed and respected members in the motion picture industry whose corporate leadership, service to the community, and commitment to philanthropy are exceptional. It is one of the most prestigious honors in the entertainment industry and within the philanthropic community.
All proceeds raised at the event benefit WRMPPF’s Pioneers Assistance Fund, the only charity of its kind in the nation which provides financial assistance and supportive counseling to individuals in the motion picture distribution and exhibition community who are experiencing an accident, illness, injury or life-changing event. Additionally, social workers provide counseling, education, guidance, and referrals to those in need.
“We are honored to celebrate Erik’s life and recognize his achievements in the motion picture industry with the Pioneer of the Year Award,” Chris Aronson, President of Domestic Theatrical Distribution at Paramount Pictures and WRMPPF Past President and Chair, said in a press release. “His distinguished leadership and contributions to the film business, along with his tremendous advocacy, generosity, and support of humanitarian causes and philanthropic endeavors made him a treasured pioneer to which we should all aspire to emulate. Erik’s spirit will continue to inspire many for years to come.”
Lomis was an admired leader in the motion picture business, who handled numerous blockbusters and Academy Award-winning films during his three-decade career in Hollywood.
A Philadelphia native, Lomis worked at MGM from 1993-2011, leaving as president of worldwide distribution after strategizing for films including Legally Blonde, Barbershop, Rocky Balboa, and the James Bond movies GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, and Die Another Day.
Lomis then joined The Weinstein Co. and served through 2016 as president of worldwide theatrical distribution, home entertainment, and acquisitions, overseeing films The Artist, The Iron Lady, Silver Linings Playbook, Django Unchained, The Imitation Game, and The Hateful Eight.
2016 was also the year that Lomis launched the distribution and in-theater marketing departments at Meg Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures, where he oversaw releases of Vice and If Beale Street Could Talk.
In 2019, Lomis transitioned to United Artists Releasing, the joint venture of MGM and Annapurna, that released No Time To Die. Shortly before his passing, Lomis spearheaded Academy Award Best Picture nominee Women Talking, Creed III, and Air.
An avid Philadelphia Eagles fan, Lomis began his career in film as a teenager working as an usher at a local movie theatre.
Past Pioneer of the Year honorees include Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, Tom Cruise, Donna Langley, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Elizabeth Banks, Jim Gianopulos , Dick Cook, Michael D. Eisner, Alan Horn, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Kathleen Kennedy, Sherry Lansing, Frank G. Mancuso, Sumner Redstone, Terry Semel, Tom Sherak, Jack Valenti, Jack Warner, Darryl F. Zanuck, and Cecil B. DeMille.
More information is available at WRPioneers.org/2023dinner/