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Global Road Looking to Sell Films After Lenders Take Control

AXL
Tony Rivetti

Global Road Entertainment is in the hands of two banks that are seeking to sell off its film assets, sources tell Variety. Bank of America is taking the lead and East West Bank is a participant in the credit facility, as the studio appears to have run out of runway on its ambitions to become a film giant with worldwide reach.

The studio has been making overtures to competitors in recent days and is scheduling screenings for films in various stages of production. It has signaled that it is open to entertaining offers for “City of Lies,” a crime thriller with Johnny Depp that it recently yanked 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.

The company may be forced into bankruptcy if it can’t find a way to alleviate its financial issues. Earlier this week, Global Road employees were informed that lenders had taken control of the film studio after it was unable to raise roughly $200 million in production financing. Global Road is owned by Tang Media Partners. It 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, Donald Tang, the company’s charismatic chairman, said he hoped to release approximately 15 films a year, while intensely focusing on bridging the cultural and business divide between China and the U.S.

Global Road’s chances of digging out of a financial hole have been complicated by difficult economic headwinds. President Donald Trump’s trade war with China has cooled that country’s investment in entertainment companies, limiting a source of capital. Even before tariff battles began, China had signaled that it felt burned by previous media investments and was rethinking its strategy.

But that’s not the only reason that Global Road is in crisis. The company lost millions on the Jodie Foster thriller “Hotel Artemis” and the Reese Witherspoon rom-com “Home Again.” Its most recent film, the futuristic “A.X.L.,” is also expected to bomb when it debuts this weekend. It is projected to earn between $3 million to $5 million, a disastrous result for a wide release.