LEAWOOD, KAN. — Last November, AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. announced its debut in the snacks market with the retail launch of AMC Theaters Perfectly Popcorn, available at select mall retail locations later this year. To spearhead this expansion, AMC has hired Ellen Copaken as vice president of growth and strategy, effective Feb. 18.

Ms. Copaken has more than 20 years of market research experience in the food industry, most recently as managing director and partner at Sterling-Rice Group, where she led consulting, profitability and management initiatives across a variety of industries, including food and beverage, retail, foodservice and hospitality. Earlier, she was vice president and general manager of growth channels at Hostess Brands, Inc. She also held various roles at PepsiCo, Inc., including senior marketing director of global brand innovation at Frito-Lay North America.

In her new role at AMC, Ms. Copaken will lead growth and strategy relating to consumer popcorn sales beyond the historic in-theater route. She will report to Mark Pearson, chief strategy officer, and assist in broader transformative initiatives within the company. In addition to selling AMC Theaters Perfectly Popcorn products at mall kiosks, counters and stores, AMC plans to make the popcorn available through food delivery apps and sell to-go packages from theater snack counters for takeout and pickup. Later in 2022 AMC plans to launch prepackaged and microwavable popcorn at national supermarkets and convenience stores.

“I have been vocal about our intention to innovate, grow and transform AMC’s business, with our planned venture into the multi-billion dollar popcorn industry being a significant example of our doing so,” said Adam Aron, chairman and chief executive officer of AMC. “I am therefore quite pleased to welcome Ellen Copaken as vice president of growth strategy for AMC, who is an extremely important hire for us. She has a superb track record in brand management and innovation at Frito-Lay, PepsiCo and Hostess Brands. Her executive ability combined with her significant grocery experience will be a vital asset to AMC as we explore and deliver on current and future opportunities, starting with our new popcorn initiative.”

Throughout her tenure in the consumer-packaged goods industry, Ms. Copaken has launched dozens of new products, making her the “perfect fit” for AMC’s retail introduction, the company said.  

“With this new AMC initiative, we expect to reach entirely new segments of the US population with our popular AMC Theatres Perfectly Popcorn,” Mr. Aron said. “For AMC Entertainment, this is an opportunity to diversify our business and to create a new revenue stream for our company, all the while delighting popcorn lovers whether they are in our theatres, are on the go, or find themselves in the comfort of their own homes.”