Sony Marketing Chief Marc Weinstock Exits Studio After Poor Summer

Sony Marketing Chief Marc Weinstock Exits Studio After Poor Summer

Changes are coming after the disappointing performance of “After Earth,” “White House Down” and “Elysium”

Sony marketing chief Marc Weinstock has parted ways with the studio in the wake of a disappointing summer at the box office, an individual with knowledge of the studio has told TheWrap.

Someone had to shoulder the blame for the lackluster performance of “After Earth,” “White House Down” and “Elysium,” and it's typical in Hollywood for marketing executives to bear the brunt of responsibility for flops.

Weinstock joined Sony in 2006 and while his replacement is yet to be named, 16-year veteran Dwight Caines, who handles Sony's online marketing campaigns, is considered by many to be Weinstock's heir apparent.

Also Read: Daniel Loeb Slams Sony Entertainment Execs for Summer Flops, Poor Oversight

Weinstock, who is no longer listed on Sony's website for its senior management team, planned successful marketing campaigns for “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” “Moneyball” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” among many others. There is speculation that he could stay within the Sony fold by transitioning to a post at sister label Screen Gems, though nothing is official at this point.

Sony came under fire this summer from investor Daniel Loeb, who slammed management for fiscal irresponsibility and a lack of accountability from upper management.

“We find it perplexing that Mr. [Kazuo] Hirai does not worry about a division that has just released 2013's version of Waterworld and Ishtar back-to-back,” Loeb wrote in a letter to investors following the back-to-back disappointments of “After Earth” and “White House Down.”

Weinstock's departure comes on the heels of last week's news that veteran PR executive Steve Elzer would exit the studio in December when his contract expires.

Also Read: Sony PR Veteran Steve Elzer to Depart in December After 12 Years

Elzer said in a statement that he had been expecting to assist Weinstock and new communications chief Charles Sipkins in their search for his replacement, though it appears Weinstock won't be involved in that decision anymore.

  • Donella

    Both marketing and media relations for After Earth were poor. In terms of marketing, strange clips were used to introduce the audience to the movie:

    Zoe Kravitz holding up the Moby Dick book while Will Smith grunts in response. No context for movie.

    Jaden Smith throwing rocks at animals. Instant loss of viewer sympathy.

    Jaden Smith cliff-jumping. Gives away a key reveal.

    In terms of public relations, no effort to control Scientology and nepotism smears. You know why Tom Cruise didn't get cat-called during Oblivion's run? His public relations team (and his lawyers) put the hurt on any publication that gets out of line. Heavy-lifting for overseas box office left to the talent. Will and Jaden worked like dogs overseas to overcome passive marketing and public relations.

    Overall bad management of two successful brands [Will and Jaden Smith] caused the correct heads to roll at Sony. Whatever personal issues are, you do not allow those personal issues to cost the house money. Work it out in the parking lot after the curtain comes down, not opening night.

    Marketing for the blu-ray and dvd has improved and so After Earth's reintroduction to the secondary viewing audience has improved. The correct clip of Jaden interacting with Will Smith and receiving instructions show the movie in correct context without giving away reveals. Plenty of extras but a commentary with the two stars may have made up for Shyalaman's choice not to do a commentary.