Roadside Attractions Marketing & Distribution Shake-Up; Vets Dennis O’Connor & David Pollick Exit – Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: Roadside Attractions, the Oscar winning distributor of such movies as Judy and Manchester by the Sea, saw a shake-up today with two of its longtime executives, Marketing Boss Dennis O’Connor and SVP of Publicity, David Pollick departing the company, in addition to other cuts in their departments.

Also departing is Head of Field Publicity Ronit Vanderlinden and David Hawkins in Distribution, we hear.

Roadside Attractions Co-Presidents and Co-Founders Howard Cohen and Eric d’Arbeloff tell Deadline, “As we emerge from COVID and assemble a new slate of films for the changing theatrical marketplace, we have decided to restructure Roadside’s marketing and distribution organization for the near-term future.”

Lionsgate continues to maintain a 40% stake in Roadside Attractions, and the distributor remains one committed to theatrical with their releases seeing subsequent PVOD, DVD and streaming windows.

“A number of veteran team members at Roadside will be taking on additional responsibilities: James Teel will be leading creative advertising, Melissa Yerou will be leading digital marketing, Charlie Nelson will be leading our PR efforts, and Rikkel Bravo will be Senior Director of Publicity,” continued Cohen and d’Arbeloff, while also giving a shoutout to vets O’Connor, who has been at the company for 14 years, and Pollick, who has been there for 11 years.

“Two longtime executives, Dennis O’Connor, our head of marketing, and David Pollick, our Senior VP of Publicity will be leaving Roadside. Dennis and David are phenomenal, respected leaders and we are enormously grateful for their collective contributions to our company over so many years. They will each help as we make a seamless transition to the new team and structure, and David will be staying on thru the end of the year,” read Cohen and D’Arbeloff’s statement to Deadline.

They concluded, “We look forward to beginning 2022 with a strong slate of acquisitions. Upcoming from Roadside next year are Cannes Film Festival Official Selection Aline and Toronto titles Lakewood and Benediction; additional new pick-ups will be announced soon.”

As Roadside Attractions’ heads of marketing and publicity, respectively, Dennis O’Connor and David Pollick worked hand in glove growing the distributor to one of the few indie smart house destinations, attracting top tier filmmakers and awards contenders; both executives being integral to Roadside’s half billion dollars in box office receipts.

O’Connor served as Head of Marketing for Roadside since 2007, overseeing all marketing efforts that increased the company’s theatrical grosses from under $10M in 2007 to over $100M by 2018. He spearheaded the campaign for the company’s No. 1 grossing domestic title I Can Only Imagine which minted $83M.

During his 11 years as SVP, Publicity, Pollick guided the company’s theatrical releases, notching multiple awards. His first year efforts at the company brought six Oscar noms for Winter’s Bone, which catapulted a then young unknown Jennifer Lawrence before she’d sign on to Lionsgate’s Hunger Games multi-billion dollar grossing franchise. There was also Alejandro G. Inarittu’s Biutiful starring Javier Bardem during Pollick’s first year as well.

Together, Pollick and O’Connor’s campaign for Judy finally delivered Renee Zellweger her second Oscar win, and they oversaw Kenneth Lonergan’s double Oscar winner Manchester by the Sea. The latter film ranks as Roadside’s second highest grossing movie at the domestic B.O. with $48M, while Judy is third with $24M stateside. Both kept a very active hand in acquisitions and pioneered early VOD models with JC Chandor’s Margin Call and Nicholas Jarecki’s Arbitrage.  Among their 100+ Roadside Attractions campaigns were The Peanut Butter Falcon, Miguel Orteta’s Beatriz at Dinner, Kevin Macdonald’s controversial Whitney, Michael Showalter’s Hello, My Name Is Doris, Justin Simien’s Dear White People, Peter Hedges’ Ben Is Back, Rodrigo Garcia’s Albert NobbsBill Condon’s Mr. Holmes, Bill Pohlad’s Love & Mercy, David Gordon Green’s Stronger, Whit Stillman’s Love & Friendship, JC Chandor’s All Is Lost and Jeff Nichols’ Mud. 

Prior to Roadside Attractions, Pollick worked with Focus Features on release and awards campaigns for such films as Joe Wright’s Atonement and Pride & Prejudice. In addition to representing actors and filmmakers, he founded the film department during his years at BWR Public Relations.

Prior to Roadside Attractions, O’Connor held Executive marketing positions at United Artists, Picturehouse, Universal Focus and HBO Films where he engineered campaigns for such acclaimed films as Robert Altman’s A Prairie Home Companion, Michael Moore’s Academy Award-winning Bowling for Columbine; David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive; Gus Van Sant’s Palme d’Or winner, Elephant; and Guillermo del Toro’s Academy Award-winning Pan’s Labyrinth, which at the time of release was the highest grossing Spanish language film in history with $83.8M WW.  He has served as an adjunct professor teaching Movie Marketing at NYU’s Stern School of Business.

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