Rice a new chief in UA tribe

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Dennis Rice has been named United Artists' new president of worldwide marketing and publicity, CEO Paula Wagner said Wednesday (HR 4/6).

Rice has served two stints at Walt Disney Studios, most recently as head of publicity at Buena Vista Pictures Marketing. His move caught several of his colleagues by surprise and was viewed as a signal that Wagner and her business partner Tom Cruise are serious about turning UA into a competitive boutique studio.

Rice, who will report to Wagner, will oversee all aspects of UA's marketing and publicity efforts for its theatrical releases, home video and other ancillary markets worldwide. He also will work closely with MGM, which will be distributing UA's films, where he will be reteaming with MGM COO Rick Sands and domestic theatrical marketing president Perry Stahman — Rice, Sands and Stahman are all alumni of Miramax Films.

Rice's appointment comes as UA, which is now co-owned by Cruise, Wagner and MGM, is ramping up operations. Last week, Wagner named Elliott Kleinberg chief operating officer.

It has not yet been decided when Rice will exit his Disney post.

At Disney, Rice oversaw publicity efforts for such films as "The Incredibles," "National Treasure," "Cars," "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" and "Wild Hogs."
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