With its latest film, City of Ember, failing to break the top 10 in its first weekend of release, Walden Media's viability as a film studio is in question.

Ember, released by Fox Walden on a $38 million production budget, opened on 2,022 screens but only earned $3.1 million to finish 11th—just behind Fireproof, a film made by amateurs for only $500,000 but has earned almost $17 million in three weeks of release.

Worse for Ember, it earned just $1,500 per screen, placing it near the bottom of 125 wide releases this year, prompting Movie City News editor David Poland to call it "an unmitigated distribution car wreck" and predict the "inevitable" end of Fox Walden as a production company.

"The crew at Fox Walden seemed to be working without an ad budget and with a lot of energy … that didn't take," wrote Poland. "And … Jeffrey Godsick's return to Fox just days ago tells us that they knew exactly what was about to happen, that Jeffrey was taken back onto the mother ship as the studio surely agreed to do if things didn't work out, and that the end of Fox Walden as a production entity is unannounced but inevitable."

Variety recently reported that Fox has "absorbed" its Walden division.

"After launching two years ago to much fanfare," read the Variety story, "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."

But David Weil, CEO of Anschutz Film Group (parent of Walden Media), says the Walden brand isn't going anywhere.

"Fox Walden has been a tremendous asset for our company and Fox has been an outstanding partner," Weil said ...

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