Fogelson to Polygram distribution

Polygram Filmed Entertainment has tapped veteran film marketing and distribution exec Andrew Fogelson to guide the company’s entrance into the U.S. theatrical arena.

PFE president Michael Kuhn announced the appointment on July 20. Although Fogelson is initially being brought on board as a consultant effective Aug.1, sources close to Polygram said he officially will be named head of the distribution arm beginning early next year, in anticipation of an early ‘ 97 launch.

Fogelson’s AFA Co., a marketing and distribution consulting outfit he founded in 1988, has serviced many successful film launches for indie clients, including Carolco Pictures, for which Fogelson oversaw the release of “Cliffhanger,” “Total Recall,” “Basic Instinct” and “Stargate.”

Polygram produced last year’s surprise hit “Four Weddings and a Funeral” through Working Title Films, one of its many mini-labels, and released the film through Gramercy Pictures, a Polygram-Universal co-venture.

A consolidation of Polygram operations is expected, with the absorption of Island Pictures Intl. into Polygram Film Intl. last week a sign of things to come.

Island, the Los Angeles-based production company owned by Polygram, has closed its international sales arm and will funnel its product through Polygram Film Intl.

Island Pictures had retained the right to handle its own foreign sales after it was absorbed into Polygram Filmed Entertainment last year, even though Polygram execs argued strongly at the time that it did not make sense to run two separate sales divisions.

Now, a year later, the Island bosses seem to have arrived at the same conclusion. This will end the previous illogical situation in which Island movies were not being released by Polygram’s own local distribution companies in such territories as the U.K. and France, but were being sold on the open market to rival distribs.

Island Pictures Intl. will be wound down by the Mifed film market in October, pink-slipping the entire staff – including president Ann Dubinet.

The slate of Island films that now will be handled by PFI includes “The Gingerbread Man,” “Eddie,” “The Cure” and “The Basketball Diaries,” all of which Dubinet was selling at Cannes.

With the Island affair resolved, other issues needing attention include Gramercy’s position within Polygram’s overall strategy, as well as distribution of films from Polygram-owned Interscope, currently handled by Disney.

Malcolm Ritchie, Polygram’s chief operating officer, based in Los Angeles, will be relocating to the company’s head office in London at the end of the year. The company is “looking at a reorganization,” the source said.

Fogelson served as exec VP at Columbia Pictures from 1973-77 and as president of worldwide advertising and publicity at Warner Bros, from 1977-80. He was president of Rastar Pictures for two years and subsequently headed his own indie company.

Fogelson’s marketing responsibilities at Carolco include “Cutthroat Island,” due out this fall through MGM. Sources close to Carolco said he will continue his efforts there through the end of the year.

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