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Searchlight casts wider beam

Studio still gearing up its as-yet-unnamed teen arm

From the studio that brought you “Sideways” comes … “The Hills Have Eyes”?

While Fox Searchlight has had its thumb in the genre pie before — zombie pic “28 Days Later,” teen comedy “Napoleon Dynamite” — the banner has largely been known for prestige releases like “Kinsey” and “In America.”

But the division is still gearing up its as-yet-unnamed teen arm, so “Hills” and recent Russian vampire thriller “Night Watch” have been going out under the Searchlight banner.

Searchlight prexy Peter Rice downplays the incongruity, noting: “We’ve always tried to be very eclectic and have been attracted to filmmakers … and (“Hills” helmer) Alexandre Aja is a breaking international writer and director, so within that framework it does fit in with the sensibility of Searchlight.”

Rice admits, though, that down the line such pics will likely fall under the umbrella of Fox’s new teen division. Searchlight execs Lawrence Grey and Jeffrey Arkus, who shepherded “The Hills Have Eyes,” now work for the teen label.

And it won’t be the last scare for Searchlight. “28 Weeks Later,” the sequel to “28 Days Later,” is in development along with “The Entity,” a horror film that Hideo Nakata will direct.