Universal Pictures is bringing in a veteran of rival Sony Pictures to run its movie marketing department, the second change in the studio’s top executive ranks in the last month.
Josh Goldstine, a senior creative advertising executive who has worked at Sony since 1991, will soon be named president of marketing for Comcast Corp.-owned Universal, according to several knowledgeable people who requested anonymity because the appointment is not yet official. Goldstine is still under contract at Sony and is negotiating to move to Universal soon.
Goldstine and a spokeswoman for Universal did not return calls seeking comment.
Goldstine will replace Eddie Egan, who is taking the top marketing job at Universal’s family entertainment partner Illumination Entertainment after working at the studio for 17 years. Egan has overseen domestic marketing since October 2009, when Adam Fogelson, who previously held the post, was named chairman of Universal.
The move comes just three weeks after the ousting of Universal production President Debbie Liebling after only eight months on the job. Unlike Liebling, however, Egan will still work closely with Universal, which is majority owner of Illumination and finances and distributes its films. Illumination, headed by Chris Meledandri, is expanding its production capacity to two films a year from one after the success of its first release, the animated comedy “Despicable Me,” last year. Its second movie, “Hop,” came out in April and was a modest hit.
Goldstine has worked in Sony’s marketing department for 20 years, eventually rising to the post of president of creative marketing before being named a senior creative executive in 2008. He recently oversaw advertising campaigns for such movies as “Battle: Los Angeles” and “The Green Hornet.”
In 2001, he was suspended for his role in creating a fake film critic named David Manning whose made-up reviews for several Sony movies, including “The Animal” and “A Knight’s Tale,” were quoted in the studio’s advertisements.
People close to Universal have for months been expecting a change in the marketing department and said Fogelson had privately indicated that a change would be coming. Michael Moses, who is currently Universal’s co-president of marketing and previously reported to Egan, is expected to remain in his job. David Kosse, president of Universal Pictures International, will continue to run overseas marketing.
Universal is making a switch now in order to have a new marketing president work on the slate of films greenlighted by Fogelson and co-Chairwoman Donna Langley that are just beginning to roll out, according to a person familiar with the situation. For the last 18 months, the studio was releasing movies mostly originated under former Chairmen Marc Shmuger and David Linde, when Langley headed production and Fogelson had the marketing job.
Universal’s two most recent releases, “Fast Five” and “Bridesmaids,” were put into production by the new studio chiefs and have been hits. They came after a string of flops including the pair’s first movie, “The Dilemma,” as well as “Green Zone” and “The Wolfman.”