For a long time, Fox Atomic stayed open only because it was Peter Rice’s baby. The handwriting was on the wall about its fate as long ago as January of last year when Fox Filmed Entertainment absorbed its marketing and publicity departments and let go of John Hegeman, the co-founder with Rice of Atomic who ended up at New Regency. The fact that the movies weren’t performing, and Peter Rice was moved into television, was its death knell, not the economic crisis. So I’ve just confirmed that Fox Atomic this week will shutter as an independent production division. Approximately 6 staffers will be let go. Fox Atomic Digital, which also has 6 staffers, will move under the Fox Filmed Entertainment umbrella. It’s likely that Debbie Liebling, Atomic’s President of Production, will return to Twentieth Century Fox as a senior exec reporting to co-Presidents of Production, Emma Watts and Alex Young. Fox Atomic’s 2 upcoming pics, I Love You Beth Cooper and Jennifer’s Body, will be released by Twentieth Century Fox, while a 3rd, Post Grad, will be released by Fox Searchlight. One of my sources notes: “The new Beth Cooper trailer is entirely focused on the mothership — no Atomic branding at all.” And, sadly, so it goes.
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