One night this year, Andrew Hotz looked at his tablemate under the Memphis sky and couldn’t believe his luck.
A part-time resident of Winnetkan and Los Angeles since 2020, he is at a BBQ at the Graceland Mansion estate, surrounded by the Presleys.
“You talk about a highlight in your career, a memory you’ll cherish forever, and it’s certainly one of mine,” said Hotz, 41, chief data strategist/executive vice president of global digital marketing at Warner Bros.
About five years ago, the same Andrew Hotz found himself sitting on the couch at actor Bradley Cooper’s house.Hotz and several colleagues were invited there to watch the film A star is born— starring Cooper and Lady Gaga — months ahead of its release date.
“Don’t think,” Hotz said, “I can always enjoy moments like this. It’s hard work, that’s what I do. The pace of digital marketing is challenging and exciting, but also faster than ever. It forces We are constantly changing the way we work.
“You have to be flexible and not be afraid of failure,” he added. “If you fail, fail fast — and learn fast.”
A huge success: the movie Elvis. Hotz oversees Warner Bros. National and international digital teams, and working with marketing executives to design and deploy the film’s digital campaign, have grossed $210 million worldwide as of July 24 since its June 24 release.
Now you know why Hotz won the invitation, and for 20 of his 42 years he smoked and smoked in the place Elvis Presley called home.
Hotz entered the mansion shortly after the Cannes Film Festival in May, witnessing a touching promotional video for Elvis produced by actor Austin Butler, who played “The King of Rock and Roll.”
“We tried to get Austin to sit in Cannes, in a quiet setting, and sing an Elvis song,” recalls Hotz. “But things didn’t go well in France. With the deadline approaching, we had Austin try again in Graceland’s Jungle Room. The woman in charge of the estate pulled out an Elvis guitar and handed it to Austin, who played Can’t Help Fall in Love”.”
“Perfect,” Hotz continued. “Fantastic. I’m starting to get chills again, just thinking about it. Austen’s performance in the movie was transformative and gave us what we wanted before the movie came out.”
Directed by Australian Baz Luhrmann, the fast-paced film stars Tom Hanks as Elvis’ evil manager Colonel Tom Parker. Luhrmann directs Moulin Rouge! (2001) and The Great Gatsby (2013), among other critically acclaimed films.
“When I learned we were going to make a film about Elvis, I was a little bit interested,” said Hotz, who grew up in Frosmore and LaGrange and majored in theater at Northwestern. “But when I found out that Buzz was going to direct it, I became more interested in it. It’s a great movie. It revolves around you, from start to finish; that’s Buzz’s storytelling style.
“In his films,” Hotz added, “Baz likes to include major events in the world at the time. No entertainer captures everything that happened in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s better than Elvis. MLK and Robert Kennedy was assassinated, and you lost your innocence—their deaths broke Elvis’ heart. Then you had excess years in the 1970s.”
Hotz noted that Luhrmann had received extensive feedback from Priscilla Presley and the couple’s daughter Lisa Marie — all positive. Too many previous film depictions of Elvis have presented the icon as a caricature rather than a human.
“Priscilla was full of praise for the work Austen did, and she told Buzz that Elvis would love an accurate portrayal and would appreciate the sense of responsibility everyone took in making this film,” Hotz said. “Pricilla also commented that the film captures Elvis’ wrath more than any other. His anger… is evident in several scenes.”
The film’s soundtrack debuted on Billboard’s soundtrack chart on July 6. Elvis was born 87 years ago.
But seniors aren’t the only ones watching and listening.
“We couldn’t be more proud of Elvis attracting so many young moviegoers,” Hotz said. Hotz’s father, Joe, is an economist, and his mother, Diane, has a math teaching background. They live in Chicago’s Gold Coast Historic District.
“I’m the product of two analytical people,” said Hotz, who raises sons Leo, 9, and Eddie, 5, with husband Kevin in the family’s beloved North Shore village. “But I was drawn to the creative side and was probably the only student with an undergraduate degree in theatre and an MBA (finance) at Columbia.
“Art, especially theatre and music, always excites me. I’m a Ravinia festival addict; I was so excited last year that I went to at least one concert a week at the venue.”
The walking distance from his Winnetka house to the beach continues to excite Hotz. He is a paddle board enthusiast and a fan of watching his son kayak.
“Going to the beach with the boys…it doesn’t get any better than that,” Hotz said. “Winnetka is such a wonderful, tight-knit community, and we take advantage of everything it has to offer. In Los Angeles, we live in a cul-de-sac with five other families. One child from each family attends a different school. At Winnetka, We couldn’t leave the house and run into one of our kid’s classmates within minutes.”
Before joining Warner Bros., Hotz managed the relationship between Google/YouTube and NBC Universal as Google’s Industry Lead and advised studios and networks on digital marketing efforts, including media strategy, data and measurement platforms, digital creative and Partnerships.
He started his production career with DreamWorks Animation.
“The field of digital marketing has given us limitless canvases to promote our films,” Hotz said. “Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, 10-minute videos, interactive social media content. I could go on and on. Remember when people only knew about a movie through a 15-, 30-, or 45-second TV commercial?”
don’t worry dear, another Warner Bros. movie, will hit theaters in late September. Olivia Wilde directed this psychological thriller. Its cast includes Wilde, Harry Styles and Chris Pine.
“Mind if I say a few things about that movie?” Hotz said. “I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. It was sexy and lively, with twists and turns. It was the kind of movie people would say when they leave theaters, ‘That’s why I went to the movies.'”