Cue Entertainment is sad to report that Manga Entertainment UK boss and home entertainment industry veteran Colin Lomax, 56, died suddenly at his home in Devon over the weekend.
In a long and successful career in the entertainment industry, Lomax was very much a founder of the home entertainment industry in the UK joining VCI as its first sales person, from the music industry, at its launch in 1985. As the company expanded rapidly, Colin progressed to the role of Sales Director and ultimately Managing Director. As pioneers of the UK video sell-through market, within 10 years of launch, the company floated on the UK stock market in 1994 becoming the leading independent video publisher in the UK.
In 1995, he joined Polygram Filmed Entertainment as Sales Director, responsible for the UK video sell through operation, a role which expanded further when Universal acquired Polygram in 1998. Latterly, he created and ran Playback – Universal’s successful label specialising in classic and cult TV.
In 2004, Lomax set up Maximum Entertainment which also specialised in cult TV, with his former VCI boss Steve Ayres and the company was subsequently acquired by MBL.
In 2006, he joined the Starz Media Group as Managing Director for Anchor Bay Entertainment UK where he oversaw a sustained period of growth and saw the company diversify into previously non-traditional genres such as comedy with releases from artists including Lee Mack and Al Murray.
In 2015, Lomax led a management buyout of Anchor Bay and its anime division Manga Entertainment from the US parent company with the former being rebranded as Platform Entertainment and oversaw the company’s move into film production.
In 2016, the Platform label was acquired by Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment, allowing Lomax to develop the Manga Entertainment division as a standalone entity into a fully-fledged content business.
Under Lomax’s stewardship, the company recently announced its move into content production (“Cannonbusters”) in a venture with Netflix — the first of a number of productions in development. He also created an international sales arm as the company seeks to broaden its reach within the anime sector.
In a statement Manga said COO Jerome Manzandrani will oversee day-to-day running of the company, adding: “That 2017 was the label’s most successful year in its history is a fitting tribute to Colin’s commitment, dedication and drive. The company will continue to develop his legacy in the months and years ahead.
“The team here at Manga Entertainment is deeply shocked and saddened at Colin’s passing and our thoughts are with his wife, Lisa, at this time. We’d like to thank everyone for the tributes and many messages of support and condolence we have received.”
Film Distributors’ Association Chief Executive Mark Batey said: “Colin had not only a long-standing passion for the entertainment business but also the commercial flair and expertise needed to build labels and libraries, and FDA was very sorry to learn that he passed away over the Christmas holiday.”
Other tributes have come from across the industry.
Emma Evans at Abbey Home Media Group said: “I’m sure like all of us when we heard, when I received a late night text from Matthew Graham-Clare to inform me that Colin had very sadly passed away I was completely shocked and stunned.
“I had only seen him two weeks before when I met up with Rob Callow, Colin, Paul Holland and Pete Meunier for a drink.
“Sitting across the table from him, he was his usually mickey-taking self and amusing company. I could never have imagined that less than two weeks later he would no longer be with us. I’ve known Colin since the early 90s from his days at VCI and over the years ended up at various parties, video launches sharing a drink with him or several. Always funny, always great with coming up with a nickname for someone.
“It was always Colin I bumped into at various trade shows — Brand Licensing, Toy Fair, MIPTV and MIPCOM and we normally bemoaned the state of the industry and shared the latest bit of gossip.
“When I left the BBC in 1996, it was Colin who was instrumental in getting me my job at PolyGram in Steve Beecham’s 4Front team. It turned out for me, to be an utterly life-changing introduction as at PolyGram I met my husband Gareth… 18 years and one son later the rest, as they say, is history!
“So for me personally, I am incredibly indebted to Colin Lomax, it’s fair to say that without that introduction to Steve’s team my life would have taken a different course.
“I never thought about it until after I heard the news he died. I guess now would probably be an appropriate time to say: “Thank You, Colin”. You really did help to change the course of my life, in way neither of us could have ever expected! May God bless you and I send my thoughts and prayers to his wife Lisa and family. Sleep peacefully, you will be sorely missed and the industry will not be the same without you.”
Eddie Cunningham of Universal Pictures said: “I feel truly devastated by the shocking news of Colin’s untimely passing. Colin was a real character, he was bright, modest, successful, private and a very proud Scouser.
“I first met him about 30 years ago when he was heading up sales at Video Collection International and I was on the buying side at Entertainment U.K., then his biggest customer. I was always struck by his customer friendly sales approach, his thorough follow up and his mischievous sense of fun – he always had a smile on his face!
“Later, I was privileged to have him as my Sales Director for a couple of years whilst at Polygram Video before he was understandably promoted to head up his own division. He brought with him all those finely honed skills developed at VCI and we were all much the better for having him on the team, and just for knowing him as a great all round guy.
“We will all have so many great and funny stories about Colin. He’s going to be missed by so many and will be remembered fondly by all who had the privilege of knowing him.
“Our heartfelt condolences go to his wife Lisa and to his wider family.”
Former colleague and now film producer Rod Smith said: “Colin was such a big part of my life, both personally and professionally for such a long time, he was more like a big Brother than a work colleague, he is going to leave such a big hole in my life.
“He was a wind up merchant, a joker, a drinking companion, a pool partner, a confident and a very good friend. He leaves behind some wonderful memories, some hilarious anecdotes and a vast group of people whose lives he touched. My thoughts and love are with his wife Lisa. XX.”
Graham Davidson of Dazzler Media added: “ I first met Colin in 1995 when I joined VCI in Watford. Colin was the Managing Director at the time and I had just joined the sales team.
“I learnt very early on that you had to be on your toes if you were going to survive Colin’s acerbic wit. I just about survived, and I learnt a lot.
“I’ve seen quite a lot of Colin in the last couple of years and I was lucky enough to share a long boozy Christmas lunch with him and a few old industry faces just a couple of weeks ago.
“I’m pleased my last memories of Colin will be one of old jokes, Industry anecdotes, a load of laughs and of course a bucket load of red wine.
“Colin was one of the great industry figures. He will be remembered and he’ll be missed.”
Jon Bourdillon of Signature Entertainment remembered: “My abiding personal memory is a happy one of Colin with a glass of white wine chatting away in French sunshine at MIP and Cannes.”
Steve Beecham of 4Digital Media said: “I worked with Colin at VCI and PolyGram and quite often spent a night out with him and a couple of others on a Friday, they were great times. He had a great sense of humour, a few bad jokes and he often ribbed me… he was just so likeable. Colin always came up with great ideas and delivered. He was a true gentleman, an industry veteran, one of the good guys. A tragic and sad loss. My condolences to his wife and close friends.”