Disney hires new marketing guru for "Pirates 4"

Wed Sep 8, 2010 4:47pm EDT

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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Disney has taken the unusual step of bringing in a consultant to handle the marketing of its fourth "Pirates of the Caribbean" film, a move bound to raise questions about the marketing boss hired by the studio five months ago.

Valerie Van Galder, who formerly headed marketing at Sony Pictures and Fox Searchlight, will oversee the campaign for "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," due in theaters next May.

Considering the film's importance, the move is likely to be perceived in the industry -- fairly or not -- as a sign that Disney lacks full confidence in Hollywood newcomer M.T. Carney, a brand strategist who came aboard as head of worldwide marketing in April.

Disney has had a tough summer with live-action films, with two of its disappointments -- "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" and "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" -- produced by Jerry Bruckheimer.

"She came to the party late," Bruckheimer told The Hollywood Reporter, referring to Carney. "I had two movies that got caught between two regimes, and the movies suffered."

Asked for comment, Disney issued a statement from Carney: "Val was one of the first people I met when I arrived, and in subsequent conversations, I've been impressed with her business savvy and diverse background. I'm thrilled she accepted my invitation to lend her talents on this important franchise. I'm committed to working with her and other innovative professionals as we continue to build out our world-class marketing organization."

The studio declined further comment.

Van Galder ended a 10-year stint at Sony Pictures in 2009, after working on such hit films as "Superbad" and "Spider-Man 3." Before that, she ran marketing at art-house studio Fox Searchlight.

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