Disney marketing chief Dennis Rice, a guy renowned for having a contentious attitude towards a certain coterie of journalists and critics who don’t pull punches and whose working mantra is “you have to be nice to my movies and clients or I’m probably not going to be very nice to you,” is taking a new gig as president of worldwide marketing and publicity for Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner‘s United Artists.

The rough going-over that Cruise had gotten from the press since the couch- jumping episode seems to have been a factor in the Rice hire. The appearance, at least, is that Wagner has decided to bring in a tough guy who can shove as well as push and give as well as he gets. (Rice probably has very smooth relations with the majority of journalists and critics — he just has issues with certain parties, and I don’t mean just myself.) Rice started at Disney fifteen years ago, and then left for October Films nine years ago, and then served as marketing prez for Miramax, and then returned to Disney in ’03.