Fox absorbs Walden unit

About a dozen staffers to be laid off

After launching two years ago to much fanfare, the Fox Walden marketing venture is being shuttered as a stand-alone company and will be re-absorbed as an inhouse unit of 20th Century Fox’s marketing division.

As part of the restructuring, about a dozen Fox Walden staffers will be laid off. In addition, Fox Walden marketing prexy Jeffrey Godsick will segue to the Century City studio as exec VP of marketing and digital content and will also retain his Fox Walden title.

Move is similar to the studio’s decision in January to shutter Fox Atomic’s marketing operation, which resulted in the pinkslipping of more than 20 employees.

Though Fox and Walden had high hopes for the joint venture when it was created in August 2006 to market family films produced by the two companies, there weren’t enough pics to warrant a stand-alone marketing entity. In the ensuing two years, only three movies have been released under the logo: “Nim’s Island,” “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium” and “The Seeker.” Though “City of Ember” will unspool next week as part of the partnership, there are no films planned for release in 2009.

Walden and Fox will each continue to develop family films separately and will continue to partner as co-financiers on select projects. Among the projects they will team for are the Dwayne Johnson starrer “Tooth Fairy” and “Ramona,” which is based on Beverly Cleary’s bestselling kid-lit books. Both projects will be overseen by the revamped Fox Walden unit and distributed domestically by Fox.

Godsick, a Fox marketing alum, will continue to oversee the marketing of Fox Walden films with the help of existing Fox marketing personnel and resources. He will report to co-presidents of marketing Tony Sella and Pam Levine on Fox projects.

In January, parent company Anschutz Film Group shuttered the majority of Walden Media and Bristol Bay’s creative departments and laid off much of the physical production staff as well. Walden says it is aiming to provide three to five films a year to Fox’s pipeline.

Anschutz Film Group CEO David Weil said: “Moving marketing functions to inside the main Fox marketing machine” makes “both creative and financial sense.”