Spyglass Media Group is teaming with Propagate Content, Artists First and Off-Road Productions to form the new comedy film joint venture Artists Road, which will focus on the financing and production of moderate-budgeted commercial comedy movies with marquee talent.
Artists Road has appointed Lakeshore Entertainment alum Mark Korshak as CEO and he’ll report to the joint venture’s co-founders Gary Barber, chairman and CEO, Spyglass; Ben Silverman, chairman and Co-CEO, Propagate Content; Peter Principato, CEO of Artists First; and Off-Road Productions’ Todd Garner.
“I’ve known and respected Todd, Ben, and Peter for many years and am excited to partner on this joint venture,” Barber said, adding, “Artists Road collectively brings together some of the boldest and brightest creative talents in comedy production. By combining Artists Firsts’ powerful roster of comedic talent with Propagate’s production expertise and Off-Road’s creative ingenuity, Spyglass is uniquely set up to distribute breakout comedy hits for worldwide audiences.”
Silverman, Principato, and Garner said jointly: “Film comedies have always held a special place with audiences, now more than ever. We believe this is an ideal time to partner with Gary and Spyglass and build Artists Road into a destination for talented comedians and filmmakers to create broadly appealing high-concept comedies.”
Spyglass launched as a partnership between Barber and Lantern Entertainment with a strategic investment from Warner Bros, Italy’s Eagle Pictures and No. 2 theater chain Cineworld Group. Spyglass owns the 250-title former Weinstein library including such titles as The King’s Speech, Django Unchained, Inglourious Basterds among others. They’re currently in production on a new version of Scream with a bulk of that franchise’s former cast; that pic is set to be distributed by Paramount.
Artists First, run by Principato, with a majority interest stake owned by Propagate, features a who’s who list of clients in comedy including Jordan Peele, Kenya Barris, Anthony Anderson, Awkwafina, Judy Greer, Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant, Kate McKinnon, Will Arnett, Randall Park, Ed Helms, Tracey Ellis Ross, Martin Lawrence and Ike Barinholtz among them as well as directors Michael Showalter and Jon M. Chu. They also rep a bevy of production companies including Abominable Pictures and Kids at Play. The company has produced several comedy films including Central Intelligence, Like a Boss, Keanu and A Futile and Stupid Gesture and comedy series including Black-Ish, Reno 911, Key & Peele, Grown-ish and The Last O.G.
Propagate has numerous credits to its name, including the Emmy-nominated Hulu docuseries Hillary as well as Adam Ruins Everything and Jane the Virgin. Co-CEO Silverman produced The Office and is the former co-chairman of NBC Entertainment.
Garner, the 30-year veteran producer and head of Broken Road Productions, was formerly co-head of production at Walt Disney Studios and head of production at Revolution Studios. He has overseen more than 170 feature films including such comedies as Tag, Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Isn’t It Romantic, and has generated over $3 billion at the global box office. Garner is currently wrapping filming on Vacation Friends, a comedy for 20th Century Studios. He will continue to develop and produce films through his first-look deal at Paramount.
The joint venture deal was negotiated by Spyglass’ Chief Legal Officer Cheryl Rodman with O’Melveny & Myers LLP and Propagate Content’s Chief Operating Officer Drew Buckley and SVP Finance and Corporate Development Kelly Fancher with Eisner, LLP.