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Global Road in Crisis: Banks Take Control of Studio

Global Road Entertainment’s financial situation is growing dire. Lenders have taken over control of parts of the studio behind “Marshall” and “Hotel Artemis,” Variety has confirmed.

At an all-hands meeting on Tuesday, staffers were told that management of the company’s domestic feature production and distribution division will now be overseen by its financial backers, according to a knowledgeable insider. Bankruptcy seems like a definite possibility unless Global Road can find fresh sources of capital. The company has been trying to raise $200 million since last winter, but those efforts have been unsuccessful.

Global Road’s television and sales division have not been impacted by the take-over, the insider said. Moreover, the company will continue with this weekend’s planned debut of “A.X.L.,” a family adventure film with Alex Neustaedter. Marketing materials have been paid for in advance, so the cash crunch won’t impact the picture’s distribution.

Global Road raised eyebrows with its 11th-hour decision not to release the Johnny Depp thriller “City of Lies” on Sept. 7, 2018. At the time, the spin was that the studio didn’t want to answer questions about domestic abuse allegations leveled against Depp by his ex-wife Amber Heard or to have to deal with the fallout of a Rolling Stone profile that portrayed the actor as abusing drugs and alcohol. It appears that financial issues may have also played a role in that decision.

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Global Road film chief Rob Friedman is expected to remain with the studio for the immediate future, and no layoffs have been announced. Staff has yet to be informed what financial institutions are now in control of operations. Talk that Global Road has been on the verge of imploding has been swirling around Hollywood in recent weeks.

Global Road was created by combining Open Road, the Oscar-winner behind “Spotlight,” and IM Global, a sales company created by industry veteran Stuart Ford. It is owned by Tang Media Partners, a company that is run by entrepreneur Donald Tang. Ford was ousted from Global Road in 2017 and went on to create a new sales and production company, AGC Studios.

Screen Daily first reported that banks had taken control of Global Road.

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