EXCLUSIVE: JP Richards has been appointed head of film marketing strategy at Apple TV+. He will report to video marketing chief Chris Van Amburg. Richards will start the job next month, when his exit from Warner Bros is official. Last November, he left his position as Co-President of Worldwide Marketing at Warner Bros, one of several well regarded marketing executives who exited in the WarnerMedia restructure. Marketing head Blair Rich and EVP Marketing Animation and Family Films Jim Gallagher also exited. Josh Goldstine, who was consulting on the slate of Warner Bros films that will simultaneously launch on HBO Max, has named to head the department earlier this month.
Richards will help spearhead the growing ambitions of Apple’s original film slates. Richards spent six years at Warner Bros, starting as EVP of WW Digital Marketing, and then elevated to EVP of WW Marketing and Chief Digital Strategist. He was appointed to the Co-Head post in 2019. He came to Warner Bros after 12 years at Universal, and held the title SVP of Digital Marketing when he left.
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Among the areas he helped steer were Digital Marketing & Media, Strategy & Integrated Marketing, Promotional Partnerships & Alliances, Creative Content, Multi-Cultural Marketing, Branded Content & Media and Marketing/Creative Services. While there, he oversaw campaigns for Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Joker, A Star is Born, IT Chapter 1 and 2, They Shall Not Grow Old, The Lego Movies, The Conjuring Series, Creed and Creed 2. In his dozen years at Universal, he hatched digital campaigns for The Bourne Identity, Fast & Furious and Despicable Me franchises, among other films.
Apple is ramping up after launching a year ago under Worldwide Video heads Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlich. Last week, it spent big for the worldwide rights to the package Kitbag, which Ridley Scott will direct with Joaquin Phoenix playing French leader Napoleon Bonaparte. That follows the deal that Apple Studios made last fall to acquire world rights to Emancipation, with Antoine Fuqua directing Will Smith in a Willam N. Collage-scripted action thriller about the harrowing escape of Peter, a runaway slave forced to outwit cold-blooded hunters and the unforgiving swamps of Louisiana on a tortuous journey North where he joined the Union Army. Apple also stepped up for Greyhound, the WWII drama that Tom Hanks wrote and starred in for director Aaron Schneider, which premiered last July. And Killers of the Flower Moon, the $180 million + adaptation of the David Grann book that Eric Roth scripted and which has Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio set to star. Beyond Greyhound, Apple has several movies in the awards season hunt now including the Sofia Coppola-directed On The Rocks with Rashida Jones and Bill Murray, the docu Boys State, the animated Wolfwalkers, the upcoming Cherry, a harrowing drama that is the first film Joe & Anthony Russo directed after Avengers: Endgame. Tom Holland and Ciara Bravo star; and the Werner Herzog-directed docu Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds..
There is also The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, a new six-episode limited series starring and executive produced by Academy Award-nominee Samuel L. Jackson, and based on the moving novel by best-selling author Walter Mosley; Snow Blind, a new feature film, with Jake Gyllenhaal attached to star and Gustav Möller attached to direct; Swan Song, a genre-bending film starring Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris; Masters of the Air, a new limited drama series from Apple Studios and executive produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television, and Tom Hanks & Gary Goetzman’s Playtone; a new drama series from Team Downey and Adam Perlman; and High Desert, a new comedy series that will star Patricia Arquette, who will also executive produce alongside director Ben Stiller.
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