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AMC Networks’ CEO Turned a Small NY Theater into a Passion Project

AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan bought the Village Cinema in Greenport, N.Y., in 2004.

“I would not call it a lucrative business,” he says of his 632-seat, four-theater venue — now called the Greenport Theater — which offers movies all week long during the summer tourist season in the former whaling village on Long Island’s North Fork. But Sapan knew what he was doing. He wasn’t in it to make money. The theater is his passion project, embracing his love of cinema and desire to support the town of about 2,200 near his weekend home on Shelter Island.

With so many people transfixed by TVs or mobile devices, “we’re in a world that’s increasingly remote and sometimes isolated,” he says. Greenport Theater “gives some heart to the town. Someplace for kids to go when it rains, and a place for people to go when they want to be physically present together.”

Sapan is playing with his own money, not AMC shareholders’. Greenport Theater has no corporate ties to AMC’s IFC Films, which operates New York City’s IFC Center. The Greenport Theater reserves one screen for independent and art films, while the others show Hollywood releases without 3D, supersize screens, recliner seats, or ads.

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