Noto to bat for Col TriStar

Marketer to top film pub operation

Blaise Noto will top Columbia TriStar’s motion picture publicity operation, marketing prexy Bob Levin announced Monday.

For nearly 10 years, Noto served as exec veepee of publicity at cross-town rival Paramount Pictures.

“The marketplace is more crowded and the competition tougher than ever,” Levin said, “which means the role a publicity campaign plays in opening a film has never been more important. We’re delighted to have Blaise in charge of our efforts.”

Russell retiring

The departure of Ed Russell — who has served as exec VP for publicity in the motion picture division at Sony — was expected (Daily Variety, April 12). The PR vet of nearly 30 years will retire this September to spend a year in Lake Tahoe relaxing and spending time with family.

Russell had joined the studio in 1986, and advanced to Col’s top PR post developing campaigns for such hit pics as “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” “Men in Black” and “Air Force One.”

During his tenure at Par, Noto formulated and executed campaigns for numerous high-profile pics, including “Mission: Impossible” and its upcoming sequel, as well as “The Truman Show,” “Patriot Games,” “Face/Off,” “Braveheart” and “Forrest Gump.”

In replacing Russell, Sony is getting an exec with a similarly long resume: Noto — a 25 year PR vet — previously served as VP of marketing for Vestron Pictures in the late 1980s, and prior to that, as a veepee of publicity and promotion for the De Laurentiis Entertainment Group. He has also worked in PR at Orion Pictures, Warner Bros. and United Artists.

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