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,"