The Two Major Shifts in Entertainment Publicity according to Cheryl Boone Isaacs & John De Simeo

By Joy A. Kennelly

Recently I had the pleasure of hearing Cheryl Boone Isaacs, “a governor representing the public relations branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on its board,” speak in Julian Myers’ Entertainment Public Relations UCLA Extension class.

We had worked together on The Ghost and The Darkness back when she was the head of Paramount Pictures Publicity and I was working at Sony Pictures Imageworks promoting the visual effects team of the film and their behind-the-scenes work.

It was nice to see her again and to have her remember me even though it was so long ago. She shared with the class that there were two major shifts in film publicity from studios to films and celebrities, with celebrities dominating publicity now. Fellow panelist, John De Simeo, agreed.

The stars are now blamed for the failure of a film and they referenced Tom Cruise‘s involvement in the recent Lions for Lambs despite Robert Redford and Meryl Streep both being in it as well. American Gangster was referenced as a great film which Ridley Scott approached perfectly due to time and space.

The other shift both speakers saw was how technological advances affect how the public receives information on films explaining it’s akin to being a good ballerina now and needing to keep on your toes, or being a fireman where you’re constantly putting out fires in an attempt to control the publicity.

Wrapping up the hour-long conversation, Boone-Isaacs asked the class how we received our entertainment information and TMZ came out on top surprisingly enough.

Blogs that were highlighted included Nikki Finke’s blog, Deadline Hollywood Daily, and Box Office Mojo, where you can learn all about box office stats, and Young, Black and Fabulous, one of the hottest black celebrity gossip sites on the net.


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