Casting Call? — MGM May Restructure Marketing Dept.

Frank Mancuso, the newly appointed chairman of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, is expected to overhaul MGM’s marketing department as part of a plan to pump new life into the battered studio, sources said last week.
It is likely that current MGM marketing and distribution vp Ashley Boone could be among the first to go, primarily because of his close ties to displaced MGM chief Alan Ladd Jr., but also because he has enjoyed nowhere near as strong a marketing reputation as has Mancuso, sources said.
Mancuso, a former chairman of Paramount Pictures, counts among his successes Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Beverly Hills Cop.
It is possible the new chairman has begun to contact candidates for positions including the top marketing post. Although Sid Ganis, now marketing chief at Columbia Pictures, was Mancuso’s top marketing exec at Paramount, he is unlikely to move to MGM. But some sources suggest that Mancuso might contact Tom Campanella, evp, national advertising/promotion for Paramount, as well as Jeff Blake, head of distribution for Columbia, and Larry Gleason, who heads Paramount’s theatrical division.
Mancuso’s appointment was part of a major corporate restructuring that also infused the studio with $210 million in cash from MGM parent Credit Lyonnais, a boost sources expect will be distributed into marketing as well. While it’s too soon to tell what effect a new marketing chief could have on the future of MGM agency Foote, Cone & Belding/L.A., the latest developments could boost the $30-million media buying account which the shop won in January.
‘It’s the addition of some tremendous strength and it is unfortunately the loss of some great talent,’ said Tom Somerset, FCB senior vp/director of marketing. ‘How that spills down into the organization and its vendors, I have no idea. All we can do is make sure we have an opportunity to keep work going that we think is great for the client. And if there are new players, to make sure we have an opportunity to talk to them.’
MGM hasn’t been able to turn its marketing efforts into box office successes in recent years. Thelma and Louise, the studio’s biggest hit of the ’90s, only grossed $40 million two years ago. This year, Body of Evidence made less than $20 million, and Untamed Heart and Benny & Joon combined earned a mere $42 million.
But marketing can’t be blamed for all of MGM’s past problems. The studio’s inability to get product into a substantial number of theaters has hindered its marketing efforts, sources said. And kept marketing budgets tight. In 1992 MGM spent $20 million to market six films.
A spokesperson for MGM said the studio had not yet determined if there will be personnel changes at the studio.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)