UPDATE: A big meeting went down today inside Warner Bros theatrical marketing where staff learned their fates with “the blending” of domestic and international marketing. (Needless to say, people were throwing stares at the Glass Building where marketing and distribution are housed.) Sources tell me, “There were some promotions and some reshuffling but no layoffs whatsoever. We’re expecting to make announcements next week on those promoted. But we haven’t even started writing the press releases yet.” The moves made today are by worldwide marketing czarina Sue Kroll as she handpicks her staff after her boss, Warner Bros Pictures Group prez Jeff Robinov, squeezed out Dawn Taubin.
The biggest news is that Blair Rich is promoted to EVP of worldwide marketing. (She just got upped last year to SVP of international marketing, so this is a huge boost. She started as Sue Kroll’s assistant and is said to be popular with filmmakers but not vendors. She’s also the daughter of legendary Hollywood TV producer Lee Rich, whose Lorimar was purchased by Warner’s.) Gene Garlock upped to SVP for worldwide promotions. (He gets additional domestic duties from previous post as SVP for international promotions). Julie Goodwin will co-head worldwide publicity with Lance Volland (who previously oversaw international publicity). This all follows Debi Miller’s departure for CBS’s new film division after serving as EVP of domestic theatrical marketing. (She was unhappy for the past six months…) But this blending is just the beginning because it doesn’t include the eventual integration of New Line and/or Picturehouse.
Kroll at the end of the day issued this statement: “We have begun integrating our domestic and international theatrical marketing departments into a worldwide organization. We expect this process to be ongoing and evolve over the next six months to 12 months. This time frame will allow us to both concentrate on our primary task, which is our films and filmmakers, while providing as much time as necessary to determine the most effective structure for our group.”
Meanwhile, staff under Kroll are already chattering about her work ethic. As a result, there’s a serious culture shock going on. I’m told by an insider: “Certain executives who used to leave every day at 3 PM are now being required to attend meetings that start at 6 PM.” I’m told that 8:30 PM is now the normal quitting time.