National Geographic Films, in which Abu Dhabi's Image Nation invested $100m in 2008, has closed down and is being folded into a new joint venture.
The studio has brought in a scant $1.7m in revenue this year, with five films in release including "The Last Lion," "The First Grader" and "Life in a Day.", Hollywood news website The Wrap.com reported.
"The Last Lion," a documentary about the dwindling population of big cats, took in the most of any film, just $635,000 in 61 theatres.
The company is being folded into Hyde Park Entertainment, the companies announced. Hyde Park will be the managing partner, and the joint venture will develop feature films, documentaries and television series, partly funded by the financing from Image Nation.
"We like Hyde Park's approach to the business, their growth and success in Asia, and the fact that Ashok and his team are already working closely with our partner, Image Nation," said Tim Kelly, president of National Geographic Society.
"This partnership makes sense from all angles, and by folding our current feature film effort into this new venture, we will be able to pursue bigger, more ambitious projects and expand into growing markets like India and China."
Hyde Park’s chairman, Ashok Amritraj, said in a statement: “Hyde Park and National Geographic have enjoyed a close relationship with Image Nation over the years, and by aligning the two brands, we create a dynamic venture that will deliver high-quality entertainment to audiences around the world.”
Amritraj will serve as CEO of the new venture, with current National Geographic Feature Film president Daniel Battsek in a new role as a consultant.
In November 2008, Hyde Park Entertainment and Image Nation Abu Dhabi partnered on a $250m financing deal to develop, produce and distribute feature films.
In 2008, Abu Dhabi's Image Nation said it had tied up with National Geographic to produce up to 15 films focusing on human being's relationship with the world and environment.
The two companies will jointly invest $100m over the next five years and the budget for each film would range from $5-$60m, said Edward Borgerding, chief executive of Imagenation, at the time.
Peter Weir's "The Way Back", the first project developed and created under the National Geographic-Abu Dhabi Film Fund, was a flop. It cost $30m to produce and took in just $20m worldwide.
National Geographic was put on the map with "March of the Penguins", which won the Oscar for best documentary in 2005 and took in $127m worldwide.