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Dawn Taubin & Sue Kroll

WB mavens strengthen each other's resolve

Talk about divide and conquer. The two women who head up Warner Bros. global marketing machine — Dawn Taubin and Sue Kroll, presidents of Warner Bros. domestic and international marketing, respectively — make for a formidable duo. They run distinctly separate operations but keep in close touch.

Aided greatly by their efforts, “300” managed to transcend its hormonal teenage boy demo. The film, which cost under $100 million to make, raked in $210 million domestic and $244 million international.

Stateside, Taubin helped the studio nab the Oscar for best pic for “The Departed,” as well as for animated pic “Happy Feet.”

A much more recent victory for Kroll and Taubin: The record-breaking global bow of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” which racked up a worldwide haul of $330 million in its first five days.

The film’s overseas take of $190 million in its first five days propelled Warners Intl. past the $1 billion mark just halfway into the year. Domestically, “Phoenix” opened over its first five days at a hefty $140 million, the best of any of the Potter pics.

In a male-dominated industry, the two take solace in the fact that Warner Bros. chair-CEO Barry Meyer and Warner Bros. president-COO Alan Horn are, they say, “gender-blind,” and in strengthening each other’s resolve.

“When I’m in other situations where I see the boys’ club in operation, it’s great to have a partner in Sue, who completely gets it,” Taubin says.

They’re also used to the incessant gossip that there’s friction between them.

“There’s this whole mythology about us,” Kroll says. “Since we’re both women, people assume there is a power struggle between us. We laugh about it all the time.”

KROLL
Vocation: Warner Bros. international president of marketing
Recent breakthrough: “The astonishing ‘300!'”
Role model: “It is my mother who has been the biggest influence and motivator in my career — she really thought I was capable of doing anything.”
Career mantra: “Anything is possible. There’s a creative solution for any problem.”
What’s next: A voluminous slate of films to work on, including “I Am Legend,” “Beowulf,” “Sweeney Todd,” “The Dark Knight,” “10,000 B.C.,” “Speed Racer.”

TAUBIN
Vocation: Warner Bros. president of domestic marketing
Recent breakthrough: Helped fashion campaigns for two pic Oscars in one year for “The Departed” and toon “Happy Feet” as well as the box office success of “300.”
Role models: “My teenage daughters Kendall and Lacey. They inspire me to be the best I can be.”
Career mantra: “It’s good to listen to everyone around you, but it’s important to trust your instincts and not be afraid to change course.”
What’s next: “Jodie Foster starrer ‘Brave One,’ Christmas comedy ‘Fred Claus’ with Vince Vaughn and ‘I Am Legend.’ Next year, we have some great movies, including ‘Speed Racer,’ Batman follow-up ‘The Dark Knight’ and ‘Get Smart.'”

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