Co-prexy, theatrical marketing, Lionsgate
For a publicity exec, getting Oprah to tout a movie is a crowning moment. Same goes for getting the name of a studio injected into the storyline of a hit TV show like “The Sopranos.”
Greenberg accomplished both feats in recent months for Lionsgate as well as helping craft the unorthodox awards campaign for underdog “Crash.” In a maverick move, the studio sent out DVDs of the film to all 2,000 members of the Screen Actors Guild. It worked: “Crash” won a SAG award for its ensemble. Oh, and it nabbed the best picture Oscar.
Tenacious and tough as nails, Greenberg simply doesn’t let up. She and marketing honcho Tim Palen are credited by studio execs with creating some of the most effective movie campaigns in recent years.
It’s no surprise, then, that company topper Jon Feltheimer upped Greenberg and Palen to co-prexies of theatrical marketing just before “Crash” picked up the Oscar, delivering Lionsgate its first win in the coveted category.
In terms of passion projects, Greenberg’s is to produce more documentaries with Palen for Lionsgate’s docu division. She and Palen exec produced Lionsgate docu “Leonard Cohen I’m Your Man” and “The U.S. vs. John Lennon.”
Career mantra: “Whatever it takes without getting arrested. And have a good partner who will bail you out if something goes wrong.”
Role model: “Jon Feltheimer. It’s a blessing to work with at a company where the smartest man in the building is also driving.”
What’s next: Working with partner Twisted Pictures on the release of “Saw III” as well as with Tyler Perry on his next project, “Daddy’s Little Girl.”
— Pamela McClintock
Domestic marketing co-prexy, 20th Century Fox
After 11 years at Fox — she joined the studio in 1995 as head of research — Levine has become pretty familiar with the whole “open wide” dynamic. But the quickening fury with which this consumer phenomenon now unfolds never ceases to amaze her.
“The thing that makes this job so challenging is that the number of big-event movies has just multiplied in a way that I would have never imagined,” she says. “When I first started, there were a few big tentpole releases in the summer and a few at Christmas. Now, every couple of weeks, there’s a big movie coming.”
A distracted, fragmented audience base that uses its DVRs to fly right past TV commercials hasn’t made her job any easier, either. But under the leadership of Levine and co-prexy Tony Sella, Fox’s marketing department has managed to overcome the many challenges of the marketplace while successfully launching a fairly hefty payload of late.
Notable were a $68 million opening weekend for “Ice Age: The Meltdown” in April, followed weeks later by a $123 million opening bow for “X-Men: The Last Stand” in May.
“We have a lot of new mechanisms with which to reach people,” says Levine, specifically noting her parent company’s recent purchase of online social network MySpace.com, which Fox employed extensively to market the latest “X-Men” pic.”
Of course, understanding new delivery platforms is only part of Levine’s huge job. “It’s also about the message,” she adds, referring to a trailer for “The Devil Wears Prada,” which cumed a surprising $63.7 million after two weeks in theaters. “That trailer managed to grab a lot of attention in just three minutes.”
Career mantra: “You have to be fearless because there’s so much money on the line. In order to succeed, you have to have great conviction and passion; you have to be able to go with your gut because there are people who will question your decisions 20 times a day.”
Role model: “My father. He devoted his work and life to making the world a better place.”
What’s next: Fox’s release sked doesn’t slow down, with Levine prepping campaigns for fourth-quarter pics “A Good Year,” directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe, comedian Sacha Baron-Cohen’s “Borat” movie, Ben Stiller starrer “Night at the Museum” and “Deck the Halls” with Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito.
— Daniel Frankel
marketing, Warner Bros.
Think of Taubin as Hollywood royalty without the attitude. Her steady confidence has served her well to deftly sell one tentpole after the next. Appointed to her current top post in 2001, she’s also proved able at marketing smaller pics like “Million Dollar Baby,” which put Warners back in the Oscar game.
Although Taubin is the daughter of Guy McElwaine, the former agent and studio exec who now runs Morgan Creek, she doesn’t tout her lineage. Not that she’s afraid to exert her own power on the lot, where she supervises a staff of more than 100 and reports directly to Warner Bros. Entertainment prexy-chief operating officer Alan Horn.
The studio ended 2005 on top of the U.S. box office, as well as grossing more than $1 billion domestically for an unprecedented fifth year in a row.
Career mantra: “I would say hire talented people and empower them to do their jobs. Don’t micromanage.”
Role models: “Producers Denise Di Novi and Lucy Fisher, along with all the women who have successfully balanced careers and families (Taubin has two daughters). They were my guiding lights when I was trying to have kids. I think you need to have a life.”
What’s next: “Trying to figure out how to effectively market movies amidst increased competition, rising costs and changing technology. That’s my challenge.”
— Pamela McClintock