The companies announced the news on Monday, the first day of the Cannes Virtual Market. Open Road was sold in late 2018 for $87.5 million to Raven, after parent company Tang Media Partners failed to raise fresh capital from its Chinese backers.
Led by Raven Principal James Masciello with support from Matt Sidari, Open Road Films said it will resume acquiring and releasing films theatrically in partnership with Tom Ortenberg’s Briarcliff Entertainment. Ortenberg was founding CEO of Open Road Films from 2011 to 2017 before he was ousted.
“Honest Thief” is directed by Mark Williams, co-creator of the Netflix series “Ozark,” from a script by Steve Allrich. Neeson portrays a bank robber who tries to turn himself in because he’s falling in love with a woman — played by Kate Walsh — who works at a storage facility where he’s stashed his loot. Complications ensue when his case is turned over to a corrupt FBI agent.
Raven will also ramp up its development, production and financing of features and television through its association and financing of Sculptor Media. Masciello said plans for theatrical distribution has been in the works for “a while,” adding that he’s optimistic that the moviegoing business will return.
“It is a natural extension of the single picture and post theatrical distribution capabilities that we’ve been building out for the better part of a decade,” he added. “We’re not naïve to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has and will continue to create unique challenges, but the cinematic experience is not going away, and challenges create opportunity. Across all industries, Raven has built its platform brick by brick with a focus on sustainability over scalability. In doing so, we are well positioned to manage through uncertain times.”
Open Road scored its biggest success with 2016 Oscar best picture winner “Spotlight.” Raven’s purchase of Open Road Films in 2018 included the rights to 45 released film titles including “A Haunted House,” “Chef,” “Dope,” “End of Watch,” “The Grey,” and “Snowden.”
News about Open Road’s re-launch was first reported by Deadline.