Six laid off as Kimmel shuts marketing unit


Sidney Kimmel Entertainment is axing its marketing department and laying off six full-time employees after cutting its annual slate of five to six films by about half.

Some layoffs were anticipated when the film finance/production outfit recently restructured its credit facility through JPMorgan and set plans to produce only two or three titles a year (HR 2/22). The company is not expected to renew its nonexclusive distribution pact with MGM, which expires at year's end.

The company said that president Jim Tauber, president of production William Horberg and president of distribution Bingham Ray as well as several other top executives would remain. SKE also said it plans to continue running its foreign sales and acquisitions arm, Kimmel International, under president Mark Lindsay.

Future marketing of SKE features will be handled by the company and its distribution partner on any given film. Upcoming releases include Charlie Kaufman's "Synecdoche, New York," and the MGM release "Management."

The six laid-off employees departing Friday include one production executive, two marketing/publicity staffers and support staff.

Whether there will be any further layoffs is unclear. A spokesperson denied rumors two weeks ago that the company would fold and said no layoffs were planned.

Gregg Goldstein reported from New York; Carly Mayberry reported from Los Angeles.