Fox Atomic closes marketing arm

Marketing duties moving to Fox, Searchlight

Fox Atomic is shuttering its marketing operation. The move, announced Friday, affects as many as 23 employees.

All marketing duties for the nearly 2-year-old genre label will transition to 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight.

As many as about half of the 23 staffers will be able to segue to jobs within the studio. But high-level executives, such as Atomic chief operating officer John Hegeman, won’t likely make the transition.

Although the cuts aren’t specifically related to the WGA strike, the ongoing stalemate escalated the timing of the move. Furthermore, the fledgling label was supposed to produce eight to 10 films a year but got off to a slower start with a slate of three movies in 2007, its first full year in operation.

Production and business affairs, as well as the comicbooks division and online department, continue to operate as usual. Distribution of Atomic films, including Rainn Wilson starrer “The Rocker,” “Playboys” and “The Post-Grad Survival Guide,” will continue to be handled by 20th Century Fox.

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“We are always analyzing how we can be more effective and realized that with the best commercial marketing in the industry being done at TCF and the best specialty marketing being handled by Fox Searchlight, it didn’t make sense to have a separate marketing operation for Fox Atomic,” said Peter Rice, president of Fox Atomic and Fox Searchlight.

Atomic has several projects in development, including “Jennifer’s Body,” a comedic thriller written by “Juno” scribe Diablo Cody and set to star Megan Fox; and the high school comedy “I Love You, Beth Cooper,” written by “The Simpsons” scribe Larry Doyle.