Global Road Entertainment has initiated layoffs of an undisclosed number of employees in Los Angeles and London in the wake of banks taking over the struggling studio.
No severance is being offered to the employees, a condition imposed by leading lender Bank of America. The studio was launched a year ago by U.S.-China broker Donald Tang’s Tang Media Partners.
The crisis was exacerbated as Global Road’s family adventure “A.X.L.” generated a weak $2.8 million at 1,710 sites in its domestic debut last weekend. The studio’s primary lenders — Bank of America and East West Bank — took over Global Road’s film operation last week as Tang was unable to raise the $200 million in funds needed for the film unit. The international sales and TV operations at Global Road are said to be in better standing because they have been generating revenue.
Global Road is the combination of Open Road Films, the Oscar-winning studio behind “Spotlight” that Tang Media Partners purchased in 2017 for $28.8 million, and IM Global, a sales and production company that it bought in 2016 for a rumored $200 million. At the time, Tang said he hoped to release approximately 15 films a year, while focusing on bridging the cultural and business divide between China and the U.S.
The studio signaled last week that it is open to entertaining offers for “City of Lies,” a crime thriller with Johnny Depp that it recently removed from the release calendar. The banks are also shopping “The Silence,” a horror movie with Kiernan Shipka, and “Playmobil: The Movie,” which blends live-action and animation. Global Road is also backing out of “The Secret Garden,” a co-production with StudioCanal that is in development.
Global Road’s previous movie, “Hotel Artemis,” also performed poorly when it opened in June and grossed less than $7 million during its domestic run. The film was out of theaters before the end of July.