Stephanie Phillips Named Focus Features EVP Publicity; Dani Weinstein Exiting Studio
Stephanie Phillips, who most recently served as Warner Bros. SVP Global Publicity, is heading over to Focus Features as its new EVP Publicity.
Industry vet Dani Weinstein, who was formerly in this role, will be departing Universal’s classic label after a near five-year run.
Phillips counts more than two decades of experience overseeing multi-faceted global publicity campaigns. She will be based in Los Angeles and report to Focus Features Vice Chairman Jason Cassidy.
Phillips will oversee all publicity for Focus Features’ theatrical slate while working closely on awards campaigns and strategic branding. She will team with Universal Pictures’ global publicity team on Focus’ overseas campaigns on titles distributed via Universal Pictures International.
Weinstein worked on many Oscar campaigns for the label including most recently Promising Young Woman and 2017’s Darkest Hour from Joe Wright. She already has teed up Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast for Focus this awards season; the film already has won TIFF’s Oscar bellwether People’s Choice Award, and has been nominated for 11 British Independent Film Awards. The movie was a bright spot over the Thanksgiving box office frame for arthouses during the pandemic, currently counting $5M at the domestic B.O.
Under Weinstein’s tenure, Focus Features also had its best domestic opening ever at the box office with Downton Abbey, which debuted to $31M, and made $96.8M domestic, $237.8M global. Prior to Focus, Weinstein worked at Miramax and The Weinstein Company, where she worked on such prolific titles as Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York and The Aviator, Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained and David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook. At TWC, Weinstein worked on The Artist, The Imitation Game, The King’s Speech, Fruitvale Station, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Philomena, The Reader and Carol.
At Warner Bros, Phillips led strategy for several titles including most recently Village Roadshow’s The Matrix Resurrections, which is bowing on Dec. 22 in theaters and on HBO Max. She also oversaw the campaigns for the critically acclaimed and A CinemaScore title King Richard; Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights, directed by Jon M. Chu; and Judas and the Black Messiah, starring Daniel Kaluuya. During her 13-year tenure at Warner Bros, Phillips also ran publicity campaigns for Godzilla vs. Kong (Warner’s highest-grossing movie of this year with $467.8M worldwide), the It franchise, the Hangover trilogy and the female-led Ocean’s 8. Prior to Warner Bros., Phillips held roles at Sony Pictures and Mandate/Ghost House Pictures, where she contributed to the marketing strategy of such films as Juno, Stranger than Fiction and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist.
“With the breadth of content available at audiences’ fingertips, it’s increasingly important that our publicity campaigns continue to innovate and adapt to reach the broadest audience possible,” said Cassidy. “Stephanie’s track record of success with auteur driven original films and globally branded IP, paired with her impeccable filmmaker and talent relationships, make her the ideal partner to lead our publicity team into the future.”
He added: “Kujo [Peter Kujawski, Focus chairman] and I are incredibly grateful for Dani’s dedication to Focus and helping to deliver such impactful campaigns. We wish her all the best in her next chapter.”
Focus has the genre pic Wolf opening this weekend. Some of next year’s titles include The Outfit starring Oscar winner Mark Rylance on Feb. 25, the sequel Downton Abbey: A New Era on March 18, Robert Eggers’ The Northman starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicole Kidman and Alexander Skarsgard on April 22 and Anthony Fabian’s Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris on May 6.