UPDATED at 6:50AM PT with company statement. Global Road has begun its bankruptcy process, as expected, filing for Chapter 11 protection.
Following the scenario sources had floated, the filing was made under the Open Road releasing unit, with the IM Global division remaining separate. That maneuver is akin to cutting off a gangrenous limb in order to save the patient. The Donald Tang-owned company also last week laid off around 50 employees in the film operations between the U.S. and the UK.
“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. 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.”
The top creditors listed in the Chapter 11 filing, not surprisingly, include major media companies whose networks were used as advertising platforms. Viacom is owed $7 million, Disney $5.1 million and NBCUniversal $4.4 million. Other creditors include Snap Inc., Roku and AMC Theatres.
The largest single unsecured creditor, according to the filing, is Bank Leumi, which is owed $10.8 million. The Israeli bank is suing Global Road over the unreleased Johnny Depp movie City of Lies.
The company has released a series of soft performers at the box office, including A.X.L., Hotel Artemis and Show Dogs. It has been selling off unreleased films in order to trim costs.
As Deadline’s Mike Fleming has been reporting recently, Global Road has been heading down a discouraging path for some time, illustrating the significant challenges faced by independent film companies in today’s climate. Tang, whose background is banking, started Global Road after acquiring IM Global and pushing principal Stuart Ford out of the company. Ford later resurfaced with many of his former staffers at AGC Studios. Tom Ortenberg, who had steered Open Road, left last fall and now runs Briarcliff Entertainment, which is releasing Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 11/9.
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