Open Road received a stalking horse bid from Raven last month in advance of a bankruptcy auction that was scheduled for Nov. 7. After no other bids emerged, Open Road cancelled the auction and agreed to sell to Raven. A judge still has to approve the pact. A hearing is scheduled for Nov. 9. It’s an anticlimactic end for an indie studio that once had ambitions to become a big player in the entertainment industry.
Tang Media Partners purchased Open Road last year before merging with foreign sales company IM Global to form Global Road Entertainment. Though Open Road backed the Oscar-winning film “Spotlight,” the distributor suffered a series of box office flops, including “Hotel Artemis” and “A.X.L.” The company pulled the Johnny Depp thriller “City of Lies” from its September slate. After unsuccessfully raising additional funds, Open Road has been sued for breaching its agreement to distribute Depp’s film.
In September, Global Road filed for Chapter 11 protection in Delaware bankruptcy court, citing between $100 million and $500 million in liabilities. Its largest creditors included Viacom, NBCUniversal, TBS, Disney, and Bank Leumi.
Open Road is the latest in a line of companies that have launched with the goal of becoming forces in movie making, only to struggle with financial challenges. Relativity Media also succumbed to bankruptcy and Broad Green essentially left the business. Even Annapurna, the creator of Oscar-nominated film such as “The Phantom Thread” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” has had setbacks in recent months.