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WB Intl. ups Pierce, Senior to sr. VP

In a move that illustrates how rapidly the studio’s overseas markets have matured, Warner Bros.Intl. Tuesday announced two major exec promotions.

Twenty-year WB vet Frank Pierce has been tapped as senior VP of theatrical distribution for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, while Julian Senior becomes European advertising and public relations senior VP.

Pierce and Senior will continue to report to international theatrical distrib prexy Wayne Duband and exec VP Edward E. Frumkes, respectively.

Pierce’s new duties will include developing and maintaining relationships with exhibs and theater owners in Europe, Africa and the Middle East; Senior will execute the company’s marketing strategies on the continent.

“These promotions indicatethe growing importance of the international marketplace,” Duband said. “This is no longer America vs. foreign; it’s a more global business. … Both (exex) fit into our organization in a very high capacity.”

Sources added that WB’s overseas B.O. for 1993 already has surged past the $ 900 million mark, passing the studio’s domestic feature gross.

With a whopping foreign cume of $ 248 million and still climbing, the Kevin Costner/Whitney Houston romancer “The Bodyguard” reportedly was one of the recent hits that made WB take another hard look at the overseas markets, which suddenly seemed not so distant anymore.

As Pierce and Senior get ready to preside over a hotter-than-ever patchwork of markets, sources said WB’s international distrib arm — which no longer handles Disney films — is aggressively staking out new territory.

“We are fortunate to have two such eminently qualified and talented members on our team at Warner Bros.,” said Duband and Frumkes in a joint statement. “Our international operations are exponentially growing in size and importance.”

Pierce joined Warner Bros.’ London office in 1972 as European distrib VP after a stint as Latin America supervisor for U.S. major distrib arm CIC. Previously, Pierce had been head of Paramount’s Italian operations as well as holding several top distrib spots all over Latin America.

Senior came to WB in 1970 as a PR consultant after working as public relations head for MGM’s British operations for years. He has also worked in top PR positions for Columbia/Warner Distributors and WB Euro advertising and PR.

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