UTLEY TO TAKE FOX SEARCHLIGHT POST: FILMMAKING UNIT'S MOST RECENT HIT WAS 'WAKING NED DEVINE' IN '98

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Longtime Fox film executive Nancy Utley will be named president of marketing for Fox Searchlight, a boutique division of Fox Filmed Entertainment, according to executives close to the company.

Ms. Utley has been the No. 2 marketing executive at 20th Century Fox Motion Pictures since 1992, where she currently has the title of exec VP-marketing, in charge of publicity, promotions, media and research. The unit is the main theatrical producing and distributing unit at Fox Filmed Entertainment.

A Fox spokeswoman would not comment about the move.

DIVISION MAKES 6 TO 8 FILMS A YEAR

The boutique division spends around $10 million a year for marketing, and produces six to eight small-budget films a year. Palisades Media, Santa Monica, Calif., does its media planning and buying.

For the past two years, Fox Searchlight has been looking for its own "The Blair Witch Project," which has been a roaring success for boutique producer Artisan Entertainment. Fox's most recent hits included the 1997 "The Full Monty" and the 1998 "Waking Ned Devine."

Upcoming Fox Searchlight films include "Whiteboys," about a white teen in the world of gangsta rap, and "Boys Don't Cry," about a Midwest woman who lives her life as a man.

Typically, small boutiques like Fox Searchlight market their films by "platforming" -- first releasing movies in the nation's top two markets, New York and Los Angeles. Then, if successful, the movie is broadened to a handful of other markets.

If the movie is still doing well at the box office in these cities, Fox Searchlight will further market the movie by opening it wide, to more than 1,500 screens.

VAN GELDER MOVES TO SCREEN GEMS

Ms. Utley succeeds Valerie Van Gelder, who recently went over to head marketing for Screen Gems, a new independent/boutique film division of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

A Fox executive since 1986, Ms. Utley began her stint as VP-media. Before Fox, she was senior VP-management supervisor at BBDO West, Los Angeles. She also

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