Variety says Warner Bros. publicity lacks 'intelligence'

BURBANK, CA: A recent article in Variety magazine criticizing the

publicity staff at Warner Bros. has sparked a feud between the studio's

top publicist and the editor of Variety.

Warner Bros.' SVP and corporate communications chief Barbara Brogliatti,

told PRWeek that she has complained to Variety for what she called

inaccuracies in the an article that cited Warner Bros.' promotion of

A.I. Artificial Intelligence as incompetent. The article also said the

studio had hired temporary publicists for a record 30 films.

But Brogliatti said Variety has acknowledged the latter two statements

were false, namely that Warner Bros. has not hired temporary workers,

and will release only 27 films this year.

Variety editor-in-chief Peter Bart told PRWeek that no corrections had

been run, and that none were requested for the article. He also claimed

the story did not refer to temporary publicists, although the article in

fact read, "The wealth of titles has forced the studio to hire extra

publicists on a temporary basis."

Regarding Variety's central argument that promotion for A.I. Artificial

Intelligence was incompetent, Brogliatti argued that the film (which

received more attention from Warner Bros. executives than any film this

year, she said) hit number one at the box office, which she said was the

extent of the publicity group's responsibility.

"If it doesn't stay number one, that's usually a filmmaker's problem - a

problem with the product," said Brogliatti. "Our job is to get it to

number one - we did that."

The Variety article also said that overworked promoters had rejected

A.I. Artificial Intelligence to concentrate on the Harry Potter film to

be released in November.

Brogliatti would not give specific numbers for the overall publicity

workforce at Warner Bros., nor would she say how many people were

assigned to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. She did say that

heavy-duty work for Harry Potter will not begin for several months, and

that relatively few people are currently assigned to the film.

Brogliatti said that Potter has not and will not affect publicity

efforts for any other project.

Brogliatti argued that a No. 1 ranking indicated good work by a staff

Variety called "scattershot" and "overburdened."

"It's a little disheartening to be criticized for doing your job well,"

said Brogliatti.

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