U taps Katz to head marketing

Perry Katz has been named the new marketing chief at Universal Pictures, filling a position that has been vacant since Simon Kornblit abruptly left the job in April.

Katz, 42, has been with Universal since 1987 and, since Kornblit’s exit, had been jointly administrating the studio’s marketing department with production executive David Sameth.

Sameth will now return to full-time production duties, including overseeing the forthcoming Bregman/Baer film “The Shadow,” starring Alec Baldwin.

“David (Sameth) returned to marketing as a favor to me, but to do so he had to hiatus his career in production for a while,” said MCA Motion Picture Group chair Tom Pollock. “For him to do that at that time was a problem, because he had already left marketing and was intent on a career in production. But he served very yeoman-like and now he’s going back to production full-time.”

Kornblit left Universal last April after a reportedly angry confrontation with Pollock (Daily Variety, July 30). One day after his leave-taking, Kornblit filed suit against MCA Inc. and parent company Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., saying they reneged on a promise to provide him with stock incentives and other benefits. The suit is still pending.

In the ensuing months, Pollock said U’s marketing team under Katz and Sameth helped to open the biggest movie of all time –“Jurassic Park”– in addition to strategically placing and opening a number of other films. Among the films Pollock mentioned were “Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story,””Hard Target,””Carlito’s Way,””Schindler’s List,””Beethoven’s 2nd” and the forthcoming “In the Name of the Father.”

“Our marketing department is running real well now,” Pollock said. “Perry’s shown he can do the job. It was the end of the year and it seemed like the right time to fill the position.”

Katz started with Universal as vice president of research in 1987. He was upped to senior VP marketing in 1989. Before that, he was a veepee at MGM for five years and a director at Columbia Pictures for three years.

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