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Hollywood Publicists Name ‘The Interview’ as Top Marketing Campaign

Sony’s promotional campaign for its satire “The Interview” has won the award as last year’s top campaign by Hollywood publicists — even though the movie was pulled from major theater chains a week before its release.

The International Cinematographers Guild, which operates as Local 600 of the Intl. Alliance of the Theatrical Stage Employees, named “The Interview” as the winner of the Maxwell Weinberg Publicists Showmanship Motion Picture Award in Friday ceremonies at the Beverly Hilton.

Sony exec Andre Caraco accepted the award, noting that the campaign was executed amid the massive cyberhack at the studio that eliminated email and all other electronic communications.

“It was as if we were back in 1974,” he added.

Curaco evoked laughs by saying, “First and foremost, I’d like to thank the Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un” before launching into an extensive list of thank-yous.

“The Interview” topped the campaigns for  20th Century Fox for “The Fault in Our Stars”; Marvel/Walt Disney Studios for “Guardians of the Galaxy”; Warner Bros. Pictures for “The Lego Movie”; Paramount Pictures, Pathe and Harpo Films for “Selma”; and Universal Pictures for “Unbroken.”

James Franco portrays a celebrity talkshow host and Rogen is his producer in “The Interview,” in which the duo snag an exclusive in-person interview with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and are recruited by a CIA agent (Lizzy Caplan) to assassinate the dictator.

The studio was hit by hackers on Nov. 24, and theater owners were threatened with terrorism on Dec. 16 if they showed the film. On Dec. 17, Sony pulled the film’s theatrical release in the face of a refusal by major chains to show the movie, then reversed course six days later, launching the film on VOD on Christmas Eve and opening on Christmas Day at 330 independent theaters.

Sony announced on Jan. 20 that “The Interview” had generated over $40 million in rentals and sales. The comedy has also generated $6.1 million in limited theatrical release in the U.S. and another $6 million overseas.

CBS Television Studios won the TV campaign award for “Jane the Virgin” over Warner Bros. Television for “Gotham,” CBS Television Studios for  “Madam Secretary,” Netflix for “Orange Is the New Black” and Bonanza Productions, in association with Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. Television, for “The Flash.”

Billy Bob Thornton presented the Motion Picture Showmanship Award to brothers Bob and Harvey Weinstein, co-founders of Miramax and The Weinstein Co. Chelsea Handler presented Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos the Television Showmanship Award.

Harvey Weinstein evoked major laughs by saying, “I’d like to thank the makers of Lexapro for making me much more civil to publicists.”

The entire list of winners:
Les Mason Award. The highest honor publicists can bestow on one of their own.
MELISSA KATES, Viewpoint PR

Bob Yeager Award for Community Service:
JUSTINE GAMEZ, Warner Bros. publicist

Press Award:
DAVE KARGER, Fandango.com

International Media Award:
ROCIO AYUSO, Spain

Maxwell Weinberg Award for Best Publicity Campaign for a Motion Picture:
THE INTERVIEW (Columbia Pictures). Publicist ANDRE CARACO and team

Maxwell Weinberg Award for Best Publicity Campaign for a Television Program:
JANE THE VIRGIN (CBS Television Studios). ARPI KETENDJIAN accepted the award

Excellence in Unit Still Photography for Motion Pictures Award:
WILSON WEBB

Excellence in Unit Still Photography for Television Award:
URSULA COYOTE

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