UPDATE: Fox has made it official. News release below.

EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that Fox has begun telling staff and filmmakers that Oren Aviv is coming in as Chief Marketing Officer and share the title of Domestic Theatrical Marketing President with Tony Sella, who now takes the role of Chief Creative Officer. Aviv starts on February 7th. The change in Twentieth Century Fox’s marketing division began when Tom Rothman announced internally that he wanted to bring in a seasoned outsider after NY-based film marketer Pam Levine stepped down last month after 16 years at the studio. From the start, Aviv was in the mix, and then a frontrunner, for the job. But Rothman wanted to meet with others, including some candidates from outside the film marketing biz, before making a final decision. All along, Fox wanted a marketing exec to work in LA with Tony Sella. Bringing in Aviv, the job became much bigger than the one Levine held. And there was the question of whether, after moving out of a marketing role to steer production for Disney, Aviv could be content to step back into a marketing role and share the post with Tony Sella. Aviv has kept a low profile since leaving Disney in early 2010, but he resurfaced earlier this fall when he joined the Board of Directors of Digital Artists. Aviv has been advising them on digital content, production, creative, branding, and strategy.

Aviv is best known for helping produce and market Disney’s successful National Treasure franchise helping him move up from head of Buena Vista Marketing to Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production President. That is, until incoming Walt Disney Studios Chairman Rich Ross decided to put his own team in place and ultimately replace him with Sean Bailey. Aviv’s ouster was the other shoe dropping from the Dick Cook firings and not unexpected. Rumors began to swirl that the Cook loyalist’s top status would change the moment Dick was shown the door as Walt Disney Studios Chairman and replaced by Ross. When Ross first came aboard, it was announced that Aviv would take on the added responsibility of Physical Production. Aviv worked at Disney/ABC for 20 years.

LOS ANGELES (January 11, 2011) __ Oren Aviv has been named President of Domestic Theatrical Marketing and Chief Marketing Officer for Twentieth Century Fox (TCF). Aviv will work alongside Tony Sella, who is President, Domestic Theatrical Marketing, and Chief Creative Officer. Fox Filmed Entertainment Chairmen and Chief Executive Officers Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos, to whom Aviv and Sella will report, announced the hiring today.

“Oren is one of the most talented film executives and marketing minds in our entire industry.” said Rothman and Gianopulos. “He is experienced yet innovative, determined and energetic, a proven leader and winner who is steeped in both traditional and cutting edge new media issues. We feel lucky indeed to have attracted someone of Oren’s wide-ranging capabilities and vision as we look to reshape modern movie marketing for the coming era. We have been longtime leaders in this area and continue to have numerous super talented people at work, but it’s a dynamic, changing time in the media universe and evolution is essential. Oren is uniquely suited to take us forward. With him and Tony, we will have the best one-two punch in the business.”

Sella and Aviv will oversee all aspects of TCF’s domestic marketing.
Commented Sella: “Our department has always been focused on progressive thinking and Oren will take us to a new level. He brings a unique portfolio of marketing expertise across a wide array of platforms and a pioneering approach to everything he’s tackled, including film production. As we face radical shifts in our business, we are so lucky to be able to benefit from Oren’s expertise and drive to innovate.”

Aviv will join Fox on February 7.

Aviv commented: “I feel that the greatest opportunity for change is in marketing today, where innovation and strategy can make the biggest impact. I’m excited to become part of this legendary studio, and to join forces with Tom, Jim and Tony to meet the new challenges of an ever-evolving digital landscape.”

Aviv has been recognized widely for using innovative marketing strategies to drive significant global film campaigns and box office success during his tenure overseeing feature film marketing and production at The Walt Disney Studios.

Aviv was Disney’s President of Marketing from 2000 to 2006, and also was named Chief Creative Officer for The Walt Disney Studios in 2004. During that time, he launched the Pirates of the Caribbean, Chronicles of Narnia and National Treasure franchises, as well as the popular Step Up series.  Aviv also designed the marketing and creative campaigns for such hits as The Sixth Sense, Finding Nemo, Pearl Harbor, The Incredibles, Ransom, The Rock, Signs, Monsters, Inc., Armageddon, Sister Act, Remember the Titans, Unbreakable, 101 Dalmatians, among hundreds of other films.

He was named Marketer of the Year three times by Advertising Age Magazine for Pirates of the Caribbean, The Incredibles, and for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, in addition to receiving many other prestigious advertising awards.

After leading Disney’s theatrical marketing efforts, Aviv was appointed president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production, overseeing all aspects of live-action development and feature film production for The Walt Disney Studios.  In that role, he was in charge of the studio’s entire slate of live-action films from Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures and Hollywood Pictures.

Under Aviv’s production leadership, the Studio had major box office successes with films such as Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, The Proposal, Secretariat, Tron: Legacy, as well as the National Treasure films which were based on his original idea.

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