Named VP of promotions and consumer products

With “The Hunger Games” and “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” looming, Lionsgate has recruited marketing vet Paula Kupfer as VP of promotions and consumer products.

Kupfer will spearhead all national promotions, licensing and merchandising for high-profile films. Lionsgate’s opening “Hunger Games” on March 23 and “What to Expect” on May 11, viewing both pics as potential franchise starters for the mini-major.

Kupfer comes to Lionsgate from 20th Century Fox, where she was exec director of feature-film partnerships. She was previously at Sony Pictures Entertainment as exec director of worldwide consumer marketing.

Kupfer received recognition for Fox’s promotional campaign on behalf of “X-Men: First Class” with partner Farmer’s Insurance. She also spearheaded additional national promotions on that film including efforts with the U.S. Army, Best Buy and Blackberry.

While at Sony, Kupfer worked on the campaigns for “Spider-Man 3,” “Quantum of Solace,” “Surf’s Up” and “The Da Vinci Code.”

“Hunger Games” will be released in China next year as one of the 20 U.S. films allowed annually into that territory by the Chinese government. Lionsgate’s tapped Striker Entertainment, which also works for Summit on the “Twilight” films, for its merchandising program.

Alcon Entertainment announced last week that it had agreed to co-finance “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” — its first such investment outside Warner Bros.

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