UPDATED with more details: Global Road Entertainment was not expected to announce any major new film projects here at the European Film Market, but chairman and CEO Rob Friedman certainly dropped some big news today. In a meeting with international buyers on the first day of the Berlin-based market, the former Lionsgate exec said Global Road anticipates spending in the range of $1 billion on production over the next three years.
The company formed by Tang Media Partners’ combination of Open Road Films, IM Global and IM Global Television is focused on growing as it settles into a new structure. This Berlin marks its international debut. Friedman took over the reins at what was then Tang Media Partners Entertainment in August, after Donald Tang’s company took hold of Open Road from AMC and Regal. Tang had previously acquired leading sales/finance outfit IM Global in summer 2016.
While the new-look company has recently been somewhat active in the TV space, it is expected to save fresh film projects for Cannes. Word of its investment plans today should come as welcome news to the market here.
Outlining the future, Friedman recently told me that by 2020 the company expects to have 15 movies a year, about eight of which it would develop and produce internally. “We’ll still be a premiere foreign sales organization for filmmakers looking to help build financing for their properties early on in the life cycle,” he said. International output deals will remain part of the equation.
Former Studiocanal exec Rodolphe Buet was named President of International in October, and in November, Lynn Harris was named President of Worldwide Production as a step towards putting Global Road in a position to generate more of its own films to complement the sales and acquisition operations already in place.
Global Road also expects to build franchises. Citing movies from his Lionsgate days, Friedman said, “I hope we’ll have the John Wicks, Wonders, La La Lands — definitely wide releases, but movies that can grow into worldwide.” There is attention being paid to not spend on bigger-budget films that will work in America, but not overseas.
As for China, the company will have a direct distribution opportunity there via the parent and will also look at tracking Chinese stories and trying to bring Western talent to them. Whether making them in Chinese or English or both, “there’s opportunity.” Global Road will also specifically acquire product for China.