BREAKING, updating with writethrough: Tang Media Partners has formalized its acquisition of Open Road Films, the indie movie distribution company that steered Spotlight to a Best Picture win in 2016. Deadline reported last week that the deal was imminent. The company’s founding CEO, Tom Ortenberg, continues in that role under the new ownership. The company was started in 2011 by theater chains AMC Entertainment and Regal Entertainment, to acquire and produce films as those exhibitors expanded into the production business. It has been clear for the past year that a change was coming as those theater chains stopping investing new capital in the company. In Open Road, Tang Media Partners inherits the company’s film library that boasts some strong titles.
The distribution company’s highlights include the Dan Gilroy-directed Nightcrawler, the Jon Favreau-directed Chef, the David Ayer-directed End of Watch and the Joe Carnahan-directed The Grey, and the company was a ground floor production partner with Participant Media, as well as distributor of the Tom McCarthy-directed Spotlight, the Boston pedophile priest scandal expose which won two Oscars including Best Picture.
TMP has said that the Open Road deal is part of a $500 million investment strategy in entertainment, and the production/distribution company joins the previously acquired IM Global, the global sales and distribution company run by Stuart Ford. TMP says its goal is to create, develop, finance, produce, market, and distribute movies in the U.S., China, and internationally.
TMP CEO Donald Tang said in a statement: “Open Road is among the best independent theatrical distribution companies in the entertainment world, from its established infrastructure and dedicated leadership, to its solid track record for producing captivating stories. Open Road’s addition to Tang Media Partners is a critical step in our strategy to enable our production team to collaborate with the most talented, visionary filmmakers in bringing targeted content to audiences everywhere.”
Said Ortenberg: “Our Open Road team is excited for this new milestone with TMP. We have cultivated a strong reputation with filmmakers who seek theatrical releases outside of the major studio ecosystems. By joining TMP we’re able to offer these filmmakers studio capabilities that reach beyond established limits and international borders.”
Upcoming releases for Open Road include the animated comedy The Nut Job 2, which bows Friday and features the voices of Will Arnett and Jackie Chan; the Hallie Meyers-Shyer-directed Reese Witherspoon-starrer Home Again on September 8, and Marshall, the Reginald Hudlin-directed drama that stars Chadwick Boseman as America’s first African American Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. The film, which also stars Josh Gad and Kate Hudson, opens October 13.
TMP completed a large round of funding earlier this year from shareholders and partners that include Tencent Holdings.
As for AMC and Regal, the companies announced it will retain a long term marketing partnership, even as it exits as owners.
“The independent film segment that Open Road occupies is an important part of the theatrical exhibition ecosystem – giving a platform to countless filmmakers who create truly unique content that impacts moviegoers around the world” said AMC Entertainment Inc. and Regal Entertainment Group in a joint statement. “We strongly support the transition of Open Road to TMP and share in TMP’s vision for the evolving theatrical landscape made possible by this new partnership.”