×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Stuart Ford Forced Out at IM Global

Stuart Ford has been forced out as head of IM Global, the independent sales and distribution company that he founded a decade ago. He was terminated on Friday after what is being described by sources as a major “blow up” in his relationship with Tang Media Partners and its CEO Donald Tang over the company’s longterm direction. Tang Media Partners bought a majority stake in IM Global in 2016 in a  deal valued at $200 million.

The news comes on the same day that Tang Media Partners snapped up Open Road Studios for an undisclosed sum. It was well known within the company that Ford was opposed to the purchase of the indie studio.

It’s also sent shockwaves around the tight knit world of film distributors. Ford was very much the public face of the company and a fixture at film festivals around the world. IM Global is working on several high-profile projects, including “Serenity,” a noir thriller with Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway; “Richard Says Goodbye,” a comedy drama with Johnny Depp; and “Unabomb,” a thriller with Viggo Mortensen. There are also several projects in development, and agents and filmmakers are unsure if they will survive Ford’s exit. It’s also unclear if Ford’s departure will lead to a thinning of the ranks at IM Global, with other executives joining him in leaving the company.

Ford and his lawyers spent the weekend with attorneys for Tang Media Partners trying to hammer out an exit package, but have yet to reach an agreement.

“We’ve had discussions with TMP and at this point we’re still engaged in those discussions,” said Marvin Gelfand, an attorney for Ford. “We’re in the process of evaluating our options.”

The indie film world is notoriously difficult to navigate, with new companies popping up and being snuffed out in rapid order. In recent months, Broad Green got out of the production business, EuropaCorp suffered a major failure with the box office collapse of “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” and Alchemy was forced the shut its doors. Yet, IM Global seemed to be coming off a hot streak and after 10 years in business seemed to have achieved impressive longevity. Last year, it backed the Best Picture nominee “Hacksaw Ridge” and was expanding into television production.

As part of the sale to Tang Media Partners, Ford signed a new five-year contract to remain as CEO and retained a minority stake in the company. At the time of the sale, Ford said he believed that Tang Media Partners would help take his company to a new level.

“These investors have gotten their head around Hollywood content and production and they now understand and want to be a player in the global business,” Ford told Variety at that time. “They know that we understand the value of all sorts of content and how it fits into the growing spider web of digital distribution platforms globally.”

Spokespeople for Tang and Ford declined to comment. Deadline first reported Ford’s ouster.

More Film

  • Box Office Film Placeholder

    China Box Office: Taiwan's 'More Than Blue' Wins Second Weekend

    Taiwanese melodrama, “More Than Blue” held strong at the Chinese box office, to secure a second week of success. The film is a Chinese-language remake of a Korean film from 2009, involving Singapore’s MM2 and the filmmaking arm of Fox Networks. With little in the way of strong, new competition, “blue” scored $27 million, according [...]

  • Noah CentineoNickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, Show,

    Kids’ Choice Awards 2019: JoJo Siwa, Noah Centineo Take on Bullying

    This year’s Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards was full of positivity and encouragement to be yourself. DJ Khaled, known for his upbeat mantras, hosted the 32nd annual awards ceremony alongside JoJo Siwa at USC’s Galen center. Siwa accepted the award for favorite social music star. Siwa said in her acceptance speech, “I get hated on every [...]

  • Us Scriptwriter and Film-maker Larry Cohen

    Larry Cohen, Cult Horror Writer-Director of 'It's Alive,' Dies at 77

    Larry Cohen, best known for his work as a B-movie producer and director in the ’70s and his later work in screenwriting, has died. He was 77. Cohen’s friend, actor and publicist Shade Rupe, confirmed the news, which was announced in a post to Cohen’s official Facebook page. Rupe said Cohen died in Los Angeles [...]

  • Captain Marvel

    Box Office: 'Captain Marvel' Shatters $900 Million Milestone

    Brie Larson’s “Captain Marvel” continues to do heroic business. In its latest box office milestone, the female-fronted superhero tentpole zoomed past $900 million in ticket sales worldwide. “Captain Marvel” brought in a mighty $87 million globally this weekend, including $52 million from international territories. It has now generated $589 million overseas for a global haul [...]

  • Us - Lupita Nyong’o - cr:

    Box Office: Jordan Peele's 'Us' Stuns With $70 Million Opening Weekend

    Talk about scary good. Universal’s “Us,” the second directorial effort from Jordan Peele, pulled off a stunning debut, generating $70 million from 3,741 North American locations. That haul is enough to land it the second-best opening weekend of the year behind Disney’s “Captain Marvel” ($153 million). The psychological thriller about a family confronted by a [...]

  • SHAZAM

    Film Review: 'Shazam!'

    In “Shazam!,” Zachary Levi brings off something so winning it’s irresistible. He plays a square-jawed, rippling-muscled man of might, with a cheesy Day-Glo lighting bolt affixed to his chest, who projects an insanely wholesome and old-fashioned idea of what a superhero can be. But he’s also playing a breathless teenage kid on the inside, and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content