EXCLUSIVE: The studio specializing in children’s fare and backed by Philip Anschutz’s Anschutz Film Group is laying off over a dozen employees across multiple departments, I’m told, as Walden Media restructures. That’s a significant number for a company that only has about 50 staffers on the payroll. Walden, whose hits include the Chronicles Of Narnia films, Bridge To Terabithia, and Charlotte’s Web, is axing development of original content and will instead focus on co-financing studio-submitted and third party-produced film and TV projects. Some of the layoffs are effective immediately and others will roll out in the next few weeks. Here’s a statement from Walden Media on the staffing cuts and new content focus:
Anschutz Film Group (Walden Media and Bristol Bay Productions) will immediately restructure its film and television co-financing activities to focus primarily on projects submitted and produced by third parties. The company will remain a co-financier of film projects originating with studio partners or independent production companies. Walden will continue its mission to seek out projects that tell uplifting and inspiring stories for the whole family.
All active film and television projects, including The Giver, a feature co-production with The Weinstein Company – to be directed by Philip Noyce and starring Jeff Bridges – and two Walden Family Theater television movies, The Watsons Go to Birmingham and Dear Dumb Diary, will not be affected by the company’s reorganization. Commensurate with the new direction of the company, there will be a reconfiguration of certain company departments and personnel.