Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation Establishes Erik Lomis Leadership Award

EXCLUSIVE: The Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation has created the Erik Lomis Leadership Award.

Modeled after the Payne Stewart Award given annually by the PGA Tour, which is given to a player whose values align with the character, charity, and sportsmanship that Stewart demonstrated, the Erik Lomis Leadership Award will be given to an individual who personifies and reflects the leadership, passion for the motion picture industry, as well as dedication to philanthropy that the late MGM Distribution Boss displayed.

Lomis passed suddenly on March 22. The distribution executive was a fierce believer in the theatrical side of the motion picture business, particularly at a time when the majors were caving in toward streaming. He was the first motion picture executive to recognize the ultimate challenges of Covid to the business by postponing MGM’s tentpole and final Daniel Craig title as James Bond, No Time to Die, in March 2020, and he held the movie until exhibition reopened around the world. Lomis was a force in convincing Amazon to return to the theatrical business upon their acquisition of MGM, and engineered the theatrical releases of Creed III ($273.8M WW, best in franchise) and pivoted the Ben Affleck-Matt Damon movie Air from a Prime Video to a theatrical windowed release ($89.1M WW gross) before his passing.

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Lomis was also known for his relentless fundraising initiatives with Will Rogers. One insider, at the time of his death, equated him to that of former Academy President and Fox vet Tom Sherak, specifically in regards to Will Rogers. “When Erik called you, you never said ‘No’,” exclaimed the industry colleague who worked with Lomis at MGM.

“Erik was a force of nature,” said Chris Aronson, President of Domestic Theatrical Distribution at Paramount Pictures and WRMPPF Advisory Council Member. “He was a unique and special person, and he is dearly missed.”

The time and place of when the award will be given out to its annual recipient has yet to be determined.

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