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Alcon Entertainment, having been hit with significant losses due to the muted box-office performance of Blade Runner 2049, said Friday that it is instituting a round of layoffs. The company did not reveal how many employees will be affected, although according to sources the number is expected to be fewer than 10. Alcon characterized the move as a modest streamlining and consolidation of its operations to become more efficient.
In a statement, Alcon co-founders and co-CEOs Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove said, “We look forward to Alcon’s third decade of supporting artists in the creation of content not only for the theatrical marketplace, but also for the linear, and the quickly emerging digital platforms. Ultimately, we are confident that the adjustments we are making will enable us to keep pace with our industry’s newest opportunities. By becoming nimbler, and continuing to work with great creative partners, Alcon will be well positioned for its next phase of growth.”
Alcon, along with Sony Pictures, produced last year’s Blade Runner 2049, Alcon’s first big franchise movie. Costing $155 million to produce after rebates and tax incentives, the futuristic sequel, which was released domestically by Warner Bros., went on to gross $260 million worldwide, and initial estimates were that it would result in a loss of about $80 million. Since Alcon shared some of those losses with Sony, it may have actually experienced a bigger loss on its recent comedy Father Figures. It fully financed the $25 million movie and also ponied up for P&A, but the film, released by Warners in December, has collected just $22.7 million worldwide.
More recently, Alcon backed the war movie 12 Strong, which cost about $36 million and has grossed nearly $48 million since its Jan. 18 release by Warner Bros.
Johnson and Kosove said they remain committed to expanding the Blade Runner universe. The company has also acquired rights to the Garfield comic strip series and is planning a new animated movie through its output deal with Warners.
“Although this new direction requires us to modestly decrease the size of our workforce here at Alcon, the few layoffs effected by this streamlined business model are not central to our reorganization plans. Still, to those leaving our family, we will be forever grateful for their creative energies and effort,” added the execs.
Feb. 9, 2:40 p.m. Updated to include details about the layoffs.
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