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Focus Features employees notified of layoffs amid overhaul

October 21, 2013|By Ryan Faughnder
  • Focus Features released Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom," starring Kara Hayward and Jared Gilman, in 2012.
Focus Features released Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom,"… (Focus Features )

Layoffs have begun at Focus Features.

Employees in the specialty label's New York and Los Angeles locations were told Monday whether they would lose their positions, though it is not known how many jobs will be cut. Focus, an imprint of Universal Pictures best known for such films as "Brokeback Mountain," "Moonrise Kingdom," "Atonement" and "The Kids Are All Right," is also considering closing its London office.

Focus Features currently has a total of 103 employees, 43 of whom work in Los Angeles, while 44 are in New York and 16 work in London. 

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Earlier this month, Universal picked FilmDistrict founder Peter Schlessel to replace James Schamus as Focus' chief executive, and the company last week announced multiple changes to Focus' executive team, including the departure of its co-Chief Executive Andrew Karpen. 

As it works to expand its slate to include more wide-release films, the label is moving its headquarters from New York to the Universal lot in Los Angeles but will maintain a small presence in New York after the move. Following the restructuring, the company is expected to be balanced between Focus and FilmDistrict staff. 

The company will release "Dallas Buyers Club," starring Matthew McConaughey, next month and is producing the "Fifty Shades of Grey" film adaptation for release next year.


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