The Australian distributor of Zero Dark Thirty and Warm Bodies is shedding staff.
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29 Apr 2013 - 3:54 PM  UPDATED 29 Apr 2013 - 3:54 PM

Icon Films, the distribution company owned by Bruce Davey and Mel Gibson, is downsizing.

Last week the company laid off three members of the marketing department: Publicity & Promotions Managers Natalie Motto and Kasha Tabaka, and Production Manager Geoff Doyle.

That came on the heels of the resignation earlier this month of Icon's Head of Sales, Theatrical, Matt Soulos, who crossed to rival Transmission Films as Head of Sales, Theatrical. The departures followed the retrenchments last September of Greg Denning as General Manager at Icon Film Distribution and Lisa Garner as Group Marketing Director, whose position weren't filled.

Denning, who had worked for Icon since its inception 10 years earlier, joined StudioCanal (the renamed Hoyts Distribution) in April as National Sales & Acquisitions Manager.

It isn't immediately clear whether the departures signal a scaling back of Icon's release schedule. Icon Chief Operating Officer Greg Hughes declined to comment when approached by SBS Film.

Those who were let go last week told friends they had been informed by management that a new structure was being put in place and there were no roles for them. One outsider said it would not be surprising if Nick Hayes, Head of Cinemas at sister company Dendy Cinemas, broadened his brief to include film sales.

Icon has not had a charmed run at the Australian box-office lately with underperformers such as Warm Bodies, Saving General Yang and Thérèse Desqueyroux. Zero Dark Thirty was an expensive acquisition and it's doubtful the company recouped the advance and marketing costs, according to other distributors.

Icon's next release, cult filmmaker Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers, opens on May 9 but its marketing campaign and cinema bookings were put in place weeks ago.

Other distributors say Icon has not been an active buyer at the last few film markets but its executives had said that's because it had a full release slate and did not need to add to it.

Its upcoming line-up includes Scott Derrickson's horror thriller Sinister, Robert Luketic's drama Paranoia, Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Atom Egoyan's Devil's Knot and Nicolas Winding Refn's Only God Forgives.