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20th Century Fox hires former Disney executive Oren Aviv

The studio, which is looking to boost its movie ticket sales after a rough year, names Aviv its chief marketing officer.

January 12, 2011|By Ben Fritz, Los Angeles Times

Looking to boost its movie ticket sales after a rough year, 20th Century Fox has hired former Disney executive Oren Aviv as chief marketing officer.

Aviv has also been named president of theatrical marketing, sharing the title with Fox veteran Tony Sella, who also takes on the additional role of chief creative officer.

Many in Hollywood will be watching how newcomer Aviv will work as a team alongside Sella, who has been at Fox for 19 years. Sella was most recently co-president of marketing with Pam Levine, who left the studio in December.

"If we do it the right way, we will be living in a fluid and conjoining universe together," Aviv said. "How we exactly want to get there, we'll have to figure out."

By hiring Aviv, who starts Feb. 7, Fox is hoping to bring more innovation to its movie campaigns. The News Corp.-owned studio has had a difficult run at the domestic box office lately, with none of its 2010 releases grossing more than $100 million — the traditional benchmark for blockbuster status — and several notable disappointments, including "Gulliver's Travels," "Knight & Day," "Love and Other Drugs" and "Marmaduke."

Aviv said that he didn't have plans for any immediate changes in Fox's approach to selling movies but that he already had discussed the evolving entertainment landscape with his new bosses, Fox Chairmen Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman.

"Movies are in the eye of the storm. It's maybe the most challenging time in our industry's history," Aviv said. "The audience is very different than it was a year ago or five, and we can't stand pat on the tried and true."

Aviv was ousted last year by Rich Ross, Disney's then-new chairman, in a housecleaning of the studio's former regime. He had served as president of marketing at Disney from 2000 to 2006, but switched to become president of production. Aviv had a mixed run picking movies for the studio, overseeing the hits "The Proposal" and "Enchanted" as well as the flops "G-Force" and "Surrogates."

His biggest success, "Alice in Wonderland," was released two months after his departure.

ben.fritz@latimes.com

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