Global Road Entertainment, an upstart film studio that sought to bridge the gap between movie markets in the United States and China, has hit a dead end.
The Los Angeles-based film studio filed for Chapter 11 protection Thursday in Wilmington, Delaware, listing between $100 million and $500 million in assets and liabilities. The downfall of the debtor, known as Open Road Films in bankruptcy court filings, comes less than a year after former Bear Stearns Cos. banker Wei Donald Tang acquired the company.
Tang created Global Road in October 2017 after merging distribution-marketing company Open Road Films and production company IM Global, both of which he had bought the year before. Latham & Watkins advised Open Road Films on its sale to Tang Media Partners.
According to a list of Open Road’s 40 largest unsecured creditors, Latham is owed $456,388.39 from the debtor for professional services. Los Angeles-based bankruptcy boutique Klee, Tuchin, Bogdanoff & Stern and Delaware’s Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor are advising Open Road in Chapter 11 proceedings. Neither firm has yet filed billing statements with the bankruptcy court.
“Today’s filing for bankruptcy protection for Open Road Films solely encompasses domestic related film operations and does not include Tang Media Partners, Tang Media Entertainment, IM Global Television (both scripted and non-scripted) and IM Global,” the company said in a statement Thursday. “IM Global Television and IM Global were re-branded earlier this year as part of Global Road Entertainment. Those entities will continue to operate as ongoing concerns working with existing and future partners.”
Variety reported last week that Global Road had started laying off employees in London and Los Angeles after a weak opening box office for “A-X-L,” a sci-fi adventure film distributed by Open Road. That led Global Road’s creditors, led by Bank of America and East West Bank, to seize control of the company’s film division in August, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
FTI Consulting senior managing director Amir Agam has been appointed chief restructuring officer for Open Road, which has close to 3,000 creditors, according to Chapter 11 records. Open Road stated in court papers that 40 employees remain with it, although some are shared with other companies.
Tang had a grand vision when he cobbled Global Road together and hired veteran Hollywood studio executive Rob Friedman to run the studio. But nearly all of its films, including “A-X-L,” “Hotel Artemis” and “ Show Dogs” have tanked at the box office. Tang struggled to raise capital this year and began selling unreleased films such as “The Silence,” a horror film starring “Mad Men” actress Kiernan Shipka, and the live action-animation hybrid “ Playmobil” in order to cut costs, according to The Wrap.
Open Road’s largest unsecured creditor is Bank Leumi, which has a $10.8 million unsecured claim. The Israeli bank recently filed suit against Global Road after its release of the latest Johnny Depp film, “City of Lies,” was postponed without payments under a loan agreement.
Among a number of entities listed as Open Road venders are Viacom Inc. (owed $7.06 million); The Walt Disney Co. (owed $5.1 million); and NBCUniversal Media (owed $4.4 million), according to bankruptcy court filings.
Earlier this year, Global Road announced its hire of Kelly Campbell as its vice president of business and legal affairs in Los Angeles.