Shmuger to lead U marketing

Fresh from Art of War at Sony

Universal Pictures has tapped Marc Shmuger to fill the domestic marketing presidency, less than a month after the announced departure of former marketing heads Buffy Shutt and Kathy Jones, the studio announced Wednesday.

Shmuger comes to U from Sony Pictures Entertainment, where he most recently ran the production company Art of War and served as a marketing consultant for Columbia TriStar. His appointment is a primary element in the reconstruction of the Studio City executive team after the corporate shakeup that also resulted in last month’s exits of production co-prexy Marc Platt and exec VP Howard Weitzman.

Team in place

“I now have my team in place,” said Casey Silver, Universal Pictures chairman.

Shmuger, selected from a field of approximately a dozen candidates, will report directly to Silver, according to the U chairman.

When he steps into the marketing post May 26, Shmuger will oversee all aspects of U’s theatrical marketing, including creative advertising, media, publicity, promotions, research and administration for domestic feature film releases.

“I’m excited by the challenge of figuring out how we can market our movies to the public in fresh and creative ways,” Shmuger said. “I hope we’ll have the courage to try some new models.”

Shmuger, who also was considered for the Warner Bros. marketing job that went to McDonald’s Brad Ball, joined Col TriStar in 1991 as senior veep of creative advertising, and rose in 1994 to the exec veepee post. During his tenure at the Sony film companies, Shmuger worked on the campaigns for such releases as “Jumanji,” “Sense and Sensibility,” “The Net,” “In the Line of Fire,” “Groundhog Day” and “A League of Their Own.”

During the last year and a half, Shmuger’s Sony-based Art of War has developed several film projects. The status of those projects and Shmuger’s role in Art of War is still be worked out, he said.

In 1982, Shmuger founded and ran his own New York-based marketing company, creating trailers and TV campaigns for hundreds of movies. He came to Los Angeles in 1988, joining New Wave Prods. as creative director.

Before becoming a marketer, Shmuger was a filmmaker. He wrote and produced Arthur Penn’s 1987 pic “Dead of Winter.”

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