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A dozen creative and production executives at Walden Media and Bristol Bay Prods. were laid off Tuesday in a major restructuring effort by parent company Anschutz Film Group.
Officials at the companies declined comment on the overhaul, but sources said the restructure involves dividing the company’s activities in different areas, with Walden CEO Cary Granat overseeing “Chronicles of Narnia”-related projects with Disney and bringing in “an experienced senior production development executive” to work on its year-old Fox-Walden joint venture with 20th Century Fox Studios.
Once the change is in place, future greenlighted projects falling in the family genre will be marketed under the Fox Walden label, sources said.
The Fox Walden venture, created in August 2006, calls for specializing in marketing family-friendly films under the label, with Fox handling distribution for all titles and production and development staff housed at Walden Media.
With the restructuring, the Walden Media and Bristol Bay labels will remain in place. Although two separate labels, the employees who were laid off worked for both companies. There were no layoffs on the Fox Walden side.
Boxoffice success with the Anschutz companies has been hit and miss.
The first in the “Chronicles of Narnia” series scored boxoffice gold, grossing $744 million in worldwide receipts. Other boxoffice successes have included “Bridge to Terabithia,” “Charlotte’s Web” and the Christmas release of “The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep,” which so far has brought in $31 million at the U.S. boxoffice.
Other films have fallen flat, including last year’s fantasy films “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium” and “The Seeker.”
Walden has four projects awaiting release, including the second in the “Narnia” series, “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” for Disney.
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