In a somewhat anticlimactic move, 20th Century Fox has decided to shutter their genre movie division Fox Atomic.
According to the Los Angeles Times, six development executives will loose their jobs and another half-dozen digital employees who worked at FoxAtomic.com will move to Fox Filmed Entertainment to work on digital projects (whatever that means). However, this isn't a big surprise to anyone in the industry. Ever since the marketing and distribution operations of the label were eliminated, only to be taken over by Fox Searchlight or big Fox depending on the project, the writing was on the wall that there wasn't much need for the brand.
Created by former Searchlight head Peter Rice, now the new chairman of Fox Broadcasting, Fox Atomic never seemed to find it's groove. A quick rundown on the Atomic legacy:
- "Turistas," grossed a measly $14 million worldwide.
- "The Hills Have Eyes II," only $20 million domestic, less than half of the original's $42 million gross.
- "28 Weeks Later," disappointing $28 million due to horrible release date and incompetent marketing campaign.
- "The Comebacks," lame comedy was lucky to get $13 million.
- "The Rocker," reshoots couldn't help this comedy get past a disastrous $6.4 million gross.
- "Miss March," with only $4.5 million in the bank it made less than "The Rocker," 'nuff said.
- "12 Rounds," $11 million to date, but most of America is stilll unaware the John Cena thriller was even released.
Ironically, two of Atomic's most commercial projects are just around the corner. Chris Columbus' "I Love You Beth Cooper" starring Hayden Panettiere is hitting theaters July 10 and Diablo Cody's "Jennifer's Body" with Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried" hits theaters Sept. 18. A riskier bet, "Post Grad," starring Alexis Blendel, opens Aug. 14.
Debbie Leibling, who was an original producer on "South Park" and helped shepherd big Fox hits "Dodgeball" and "Borat," was running the label since it had been downsized earlier this year. She'll return to the major studio fold to oversee two potential greenlight's in development: "28 Months Later," a second sequel to the original Danny Boyle hit, and "Accidentes," a comedy that could find Sacha Baron Cohen playing an ambulance-chasing lawyer.