Dwight Caines named president of Columbia TriStar theatrical marketing

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Sony Pictures Entertainment veteran Dwight Caines has been named president of theatrical marketing for the company’s Columbia TriStar Motion Pictures Group.

Caines is assuming some of the responsibilities of Marc Weinstock, who earlier this week was fired from his post as the studio’s head of domestic and international marketing.

Caines will oversee theatrical marketing for Sony Pictures units Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures and Screen Gems. He will not handle international marketing.


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Caines had been Sony Pictures’ head of global digital motion picture marketing since 2005. In his new position, which Sony Pictures announced Wednesday morning, Caines will report to Jeff Blake, the studio’s vice chairman.

“I have had the privilege of marketing films from across our diverse family of labels in the digital world over the last nearly 10 years, so I am pleased to be taking on a larger role in marketing,” Caines said in a statement.

According to a person with knowledge of the situation who was not authorized to comment publicly because of the sensitive nature of Weinstock’s departure, the shake-up was made by Sony Pictures Chairman Michael Lynton and co-Chairman Amy Pascal at least partly in response to the studio’s poor box office showing this summer.

Two high-profile releases, the Will Smith action movie “After Earth” and the Channing Tatum vehicle “White House Down,” performed poorly. “After Earth” has grossed a disappointing $244 million worldwide, and “White House Down” has taken in $185 million globally.

Those poor showings drew the attention of activist investor Dan Loeb, whose hedge fund Third Point owns about 7% of Tokyo-based Sony Corp., the studio’s parent company. In May, Loeb had called for an initial public offering of Sony Entertainment Inc., the unit that includes the company’s studio.


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In July, Loeb ratcheted up his rhetoric, labeling the two box office disappointments “2013’s versions of ‘Waterworld’ and ‘Ishtar’ back-to-back,” a reference to two of the most famous flops of all-time. But in August Sony rejected Loeb’s plan.

Caines joined Sony Pictures in 1997 as director of market research. He will continue to oversee worldwide digital marketing for the studio, Sony Pictures said.

“I am very pleased to welcome Dwight into this expanded role, where we can all benefit from his unique expertise,” said Blake, also Sony Pictures’ worldwide head of marketing and distribution, in a statement. “As the media landscape has evolved, Dwight’s team has been at the forefront of the latest trends and technologies, keeping in step with new ways to reach movie fans.”

Sony declined to comment on Weinstock’s departure.

Caines’ promotion comes about a week after Steve Elzer, senior vice president of media relations for Sony Pictures, said in an email widely circulated in Hollywood that he would leave the company in December. Elzer’s ouster comes after a 12-year stint at Sony, where the executive, well-liked and respected in the movie business, has handled media relations for the studio’s films.

In late August, Sony Pictures named Charles Sipkins its new head of communications. He previously worked for corporate and financial communications firm Sard Verbinnen & Co.



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