Fox Filmed Entertainment and Walden Media made this announcement today, which hid the fact that about a dozen Fox Walden staffers will be laid off as part of a restructuring:
LOS ANGELES, CA (October 2, 2008) – Walden Media and Fox Filmed Entertainment today announced the restructuring and streamlining of the companies’ Fox Walden joint venture in order to create greater efficiency by utilizing more of the existing Fox film marketing resources. The two companies reaffirmed their continuing relationship by partnering on the upcoming films TOOTH FAIRY and RAMONA.
Both Walden and Fox will continue to separately develop family films and will be able to offer one another the opportunity to co-finance and co-produce such films. All such films will still be overseen by Fox Walden and distributed domestically by Fox, but the reconfigured joint venture will be housed within Fox rather than operating as a standalone entity.
Jeffrey Godsick, the head of Fox Walden, will rejoin Fox as executive vice president of marketing and digital content and will also retain his Fox Walden title. He will continue to oversee the marketing of Fox Walden films by utilizing existing Fox marketing personnel and resources. Godsick will report to co-presidents of marketing Tony Sella and Pam Levine on Fox projects.
“I am incredibly proud of the marketing innovations we have accomplished at Fox Walden,” said Godsick. “Pam and Tony have created a culture of innovation and I am thrilled to be working with them and the entire Fox family as we continue to find unique ways to brings films to the marketplace.”
RAMONA will be the next Fox Walden film co-financed and co-produced by Fox and Walden Media. The all new film recounts the adventures of young Ramona Quimby, whose vivid imagination, boundless energy and accident-prone antics are the focus of the best-selling books (over 91 million…and counting) by Beverly Cleary. Casting on the film is underway.
Walden has come on board to partner on the Fox-originated TOOTH FAIRY, starring Dwayne Johnson, along with Ashley Judd, Stephen Merchant, Julie Andrews, Billy Crystal and skateboard phenomenon Ryan Sheckler. The film, which is currently in production, is directed by Michael Lembeck (The Santa Clause 2, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause) and the producers are Jason Blum (The Accidental Husband), Gordon Gray and Mark Ciardi (The Game Plan, Invincible, Miracle)
David Weil, CEO of Anschutz Film Group (parent of Walden Media), said: “Fox Walden has been a tremendous asset for our company and Fox has been an outstanding partner. Moving marketing functions to inside the main Fox marketing machine – the best in the business – makes both creative and financial sense. We’re very happy that it will continue to exist within Fox under Jeffrey’s leadership and we intend to continue to provide 3-5 films a year.”
Pam Levine said: “Tony and I have worked with Jeffrey for much of our careers, so this is truly like welcoming back a family member. We’re thrilled to have him and the experience he brings back on our team, and look forward to capitalizing on his creative energy and leadership skills in traditional and new areas as we approach a very exciting time for our company.”
The aim of Fox Walden is to bring movie audiences quality family-friendly pictures at a variety of budget levels. Movies marketed by the joint venture will encompass all genres and will generally be MPAA-rated “G” and “PG”. Walden Media will continue to provide to the entity its grassroots outreach services which focus on education, youth groups, faith groups and families. It also creates educational curriculum for most Fox Walden films.