Global Road, a film studio that once hoped to bridge the divide between U.S. and China and fashion hit movies for a worldwide audience, has filed for bankruptcy. The struggling company has been selling unreleased movies in recent days and laying off dozens of people as it tried to meet its financial obligations. Creditors, led by Bank of America, seized control of Global Road last month.
The company filed for Chapter 11 protection in Delaware bankruptcy court, citing between $100 million and $500 million in liabilities. Its largest creditors include Viacom, NBCUniversal, TBS, Disney, and Bank Leumi. Global Road has released a series of flops including the Jodie Foster thriller “Hotel Artemis” and the family film “Show Dogs.”
Bank Leumi, an Israeli bank that’s suing Global Road over its unreleased Johnny Depp film “City of Lies,” is the largest creditor with a $10.8 million unsecured claim. Viacom is the second largest creditor with a $7.1 million unsecured claim, according to filings.
Donald Tang, a former Bear Stearns banker based in China, formed the company a year ago when his Tang Media Partners acquired Open Road Films. Tang had purchased foreign sales and production company IM Global the year prior, and aimed to combine the two to create a global production and distribution firm. Tang has since been seeking to raise additional financing, either from his Chinese backers or other sources. He has struck out. Tang Media Partners had 144 employees before staff reductions took place.
The company does have television and sales divisions, both of which will continue to operate as going concerns and will not be part of the filing.
Global Road is the latest in a long line of media companies, launched with grand ambitions, only to fail to consistently produce box office winners. The Weinstein Company was forced into bankruptcy last year after allegations of sexual harassment against its founder Harvey Weinstein were made public. Relativity Media, another film and television player, also was forced into Chapter 11 in 2015. It has tried at various points to re-emerge in a meaningful way.