EXCLUSIVE: Cineworld’s Chief Commercial Officer Renana Teperberg is receiving CinemaCon’s Global Achievement in Exhibition Award in Las Vegas on Monday. The executive has spent essentially her entire career in the business, starting with the group as a cashier in a Jerusalem movie theater and rising through various posts including Head of Programming and Marketing and SVP of Commercial, before becoming CCO in 2016.
As CCO of the world’s second-largest exhibition group, which owns Regal in the U.S. and operates in 10 countries with 9,185 screens, Teperberg has multiple responsibilities including commercial strategy and development, e-commerce, marketing, food service, HR, new product and business development.
A respected leader in the global exhibition business, Teperberg works closely with Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger, who calls her “extremely professional and passionate.” After a challenging two years for the business amid the pandemic, she’s also bullish on the future of theatrical moviegoing and below shares some industry insight with Deadline.
DEADLINE: How are you feeling about the return to business? What’s your outlook now that we seem to be getting away from the pandemic?
RENANA TEPERBERG: I’m very optimistic when it comes to the wish of people to go out and go to the cinema. I think we already proved that if people want to go out — we saw with Spider-Man, Bond, Uncharted, The Batman — people want to go out. I think our challenge is still with the content because this is the main thing we have to offer. We can build the best cinemas in the world, but if we do not have the movies then it will not help.
This year when it comes to blockbusters looks amazing. We are still missing the mid-size movies probably because during the pandemic they were not produced or sold to streaming, but I think it will come. I think it’s clear that when someone is watching a movie in the cinema, they will go out and say “Wow!”, and watching the same movie at home, they go out and say, “Eh, it was nice.” For a filmmaker, if it’s their life’s project, I think that they all at the end want to be shown on the big screen.
DEADLINE: Speaking of content, how has your relationship with the studios evolved throughout the pandemic? There were some tense moments; is everybody more or less on the same page now?
TEPERBERG: Our relations with studios today are in a very good place. There were definitely some extremely tough moments, and I won’t lie saying it was smooth and only a love story throughout these two years. We had tough discussions, and in times we definitely felt that the studios could do things differently. Saying that, they had their own challenges, and I think that today we are in a very good place and personally I can say that some of the relations even got stronger during that period. I do feel that we are now working in a very good collaboration and seeing eye-to-eye on the future of cinemas.
DEADLINE: What’s highest on your agenda in terms of development for the circuit?
TEPERBERG: The one thing we need to make sure is that when people come to the cinema, first they are getting a very good experience. So we need to make sure that our cinemas have high standards, from the seating to the quality of the equipment. But I think our top agenda right now is to invest more in the special formats because this is really something that you cannot get anywhere else and because it brings people — we saw it a lot with Spider-Man — to watch the same movies a few times because they want to experience it in different formats.
And, it’s a way to attract the younger audience which today is more challenging. I know for my son, who watched Spider-Man four times — he went to the Imax, to the regular auditorium, to the ScreenX, to the 4DX — each time for him it was a different experience.
DEADLINE: You’ve had quite a long run with Cineworld, you’ve never really worked anywhere else, is that right?
TEPERBERG: (Laughs) If you do not consider the terrible job that I had at age 16 at some bakery, then yes this is only job that I’ve ever had.
DEADLINE: Starting out, did you know you wanted to be in the movie business?
TEPERBERG: I definitely didn’t know. I was looking for a place to work while I was studying psychology at university. I was 100% sure I was going to be a psychologist and I looked for a job that would be on the weekends because I was studying during the week. The only thing that was open on the weekends in Jerusalem was the cinema. I started in the box office… I was in the projection room, I managed the cinema, all while I was still studying and still sure that I would be a psychologist. Three or four years after I had been in the office working next to Mooky, I said, “Okay, I think I’m going to stay.”
DEADLINE: What was the draw?
TEPERBERG: First because this industry, you know, it does it to you — it’s so exciting and different and you feel that you are part of this thing that entertains people, something good that people love. When I came to the head office it was just at the time that the company started to develop significantly, when we went out of Israel to Central Europe. It was fascinating, we opened from the beginning countries that didn’t have in many cases model cinemas, so it was exciting to meet the people from different countries and mentalities and also to be there for customers that were coming and saying “Wow!”… For me, the most important thing is the relationships and the connections with people.
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DEADLINE: As a woman in a major exhibition circuit, have there been any challenges to advancing?
TEPERBERG: In our company, there are many women in leading positions. In Israel our table is balanced, but I would say balanced is more women than men. In Central Europe, many women are in leadership positions so it was never an issue inside our company, I never felt that I need to fight harder or that there’s no fair chance. Mooky is a great believer in women in leadership positions.
Looking out in the industry, I was a bit surprised as we grew and as I got to know more of the big companies in the industry, it is still not where I think it probably should be. At Regal, Amy Miles when we came was the CEO there, Elizabeth Frank from AMC is a very good colleague. So there are women, but for sure when you look at the industry and the leading people there are much less women than there probably should be.
DEADLINE: What’s the best thing about going to the movies for you personally?
TEPERBERG: Every movie that I can watch with someone that I love and that I care about, it’s really for me about the experience. I can enjoy almost every movie when it comes with the right experience and the right person next to me.
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