Tonis Kiis, the senior vice president of international distribution at Warner Bros., has been named CineEurope’s 2023 International Distributor of the Year award recipient. The award will be presented June 22 as part of the CineEurope Awards Ceremony hosted by the Coca-Cola Company at the Centre Convencions Internacional Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain.
Based in Los Angeles, Tonis Kiis is responsible for a wide range of theatrical film distribution activities in more than 125 countries internationally, including release planning, filmmaker relationships, partnerships with theatrical exhibitors, business development initiatives, and emerging cinema technologies. With more than 14 years in distribution, Kiis has helped the studio amass a staggering $35.4 billion in international box office.
Working with one of the most robust and diverse slates in the industry, he has helped guide international release strategies to maximize box office for such hugely successful film franchises as Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts, The Hobbit trilogy, DC’s Joker, Wonder Woman, Shazam!, and the highest-grossing DC title of all time, Aquaman, with its sequel slated for later this year. He has also helped shepherd such acclaimed titles as Dunkirk, A Star Is Born, Dune, and Elvis, among numerous others.
Prior to joining Warner Bros. in 2009, Kiis held many positions at the Welk Group, Inc., including general manager of The Welk Studios, a studio facility in Los Angeles. Early on in his career, Kiis also held positions at Warner Bros. as part of the international theatrical operations team, and at Walt Disney Studios, where he contributed to the launch of Disney’s electronic sell-through business on emerging digital platforms, including on Apple iTunes.
“We are so excited to present this award to my friend Tonis,” said Film Expo Group president Andrew Sunshine. “Tonis has played such a key role at Warner Bros. as they continue to expand and lead by example in the international market. He is so deserving of this recognition, and it is fitting that we can celebrate him for this milestone achievement in 2023 – the same year as Warner Bros. Studios’ centennial celebration.”
Welcoming the announcement, Phil Clapp, president of the European cinema trade body UNIC, added, “UNIC is delighted in joining colleagues from across the industry in congratulating Tonis Kiis on his richly deserved recognition as CineEurope 2023 International Distributor of the Year.”