Tang Media Partners has purchased Open Road Films, the Oscar-winning distributor of “Spotlight” and “Nightcrawler.”
As part of the deal, Open Road’s Tom Ortenberg will continue as the motion picture company’s CEO. Open Road was started in 2011 by AMC Entertainment and Regal Entertainment Group as part of an effort by the theater chains to produce broadly appealing films for all times of the year — traditionally, studios saved their best fare for the winter holidays and summer. But Open Road struggled with consistency. The studio had hits with “The Nut Job” and “End of Watch,” but also released such duds as the Bill Murray comedy “Rock the Kasbah” and “The Gunman,” an ill-conceived attempt by Sean Penn to rebrand himself as an action hero.
The sale comes as many indie players are struggling to stay in business. Last week, Broad Green Pictures laid off 20% of its staff and shuttered its production division, while EuropaCorp, a French-based player, suffered a huge flop with “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.” Other studios, such as the Weinstein Company, have become more focused on television as the market for theatrical releases grows more challenging.
Tang Media was founded in 2015 by Donald Tang, a former chairman and CEO of Bear Stearns Asia. The company is based in Los Angeles and Shanghai and is active in the development, financing, production, and of content that will appeal to both North American and Chinese consumers. Backers have been reported to include Tencent, Huayi Brothers, Sequoia Capital, and China Media Capital.
Tang has been an active buyer. Last year, it purchased a majority stake in Stuart Ford’s sales-financing company IM Global, it also snapped up content developer Chaotic Good Studios.
The companies said that both AMC and Regal will remain partners with Open Road through a long-term marketing partnership. They did not disclose a sales price.