Owen Gleiberman’s recently published memoir “Movie Freak” ends shortly after the veteran film critic was laid off from Entertainment Weekly, the publication that employed him for 24 years. Now, that story has a sequel: Today, Variety (Indiewire’s sister company at Penske Media Corp.) announced that it had hired Gleiberman as its chief film critic, working out of the New York offices.
Gleiberman will share the title with Peter Debruge, who will be relocating from Variety’s Paris bureau to Los Angeles at the end of the month. Both critics will attend the upcoming Cannes Film Festival.
Gleiberman’s hiring marks a new stage in Variety’s complicated history with its film critics. In 2010, prior to its acquisition by PMC, Variety laid off 30-year veteran Todd McCarthy, leaving Debruge and Justin Chang as its two lead critics. Two years ago, they were joined in that capacity by Scott Foundas, who left the publication to become an acquisitions executive at Amazon Studios last year. In April, Chang left Variety to join the Los Angeles Times. Now, the trade has full-time critics on both coasts.
In his writing, Gleiberman “zeros in on a film and shows how it distills the zeitgeist,” wrote Carrie Rickey in her review of his new book.
In recent years, in addition to writing “Movie Freak,” Gleiberman has served as a film critic for BBC.com. He begins work at Variety on May 9.