The companies unveiled the alliance Wednesday, announcing that Artists Road will focus on developing, financing and producing moderately budgeted, commercial comedy films with the genre’s biggest names. Spyglass Media will handle worldwide distribution.
The announcement was made by Gary Barber, Spyglass chairman and CEO; Ben Silverman, Propagate Chairman and co-CEO; Peter Principato, CEO of Artists First; and Todd Garner for Off-Road Productions. Artists Road has appointed Mark Korshak, formerly of Lakeshore Entertainment, as CEO, and he’ll report to Barber, Silverman, Principato and Garner.
“Artists Road collectively brings together some of the boldest and brightest creative talents in comedy production. By combining Artists Firsts’ powerful roster of comedic talent with Propagate’s production expertise and Off-Road’s creative ingenuity, Spyglass is uniquely set up to distribute breakout comedy hits for worldwide audiences,” Barber said.
Silverman, Principato, and Garner said jointly, “Film comedies have always held a special place with audiences, now more than ever. We believe this is an ideal time to partner with Gary and Spyglass and build Artists Road into a destination for talented comedians and filmmakers to create broadly appealing high-concept comedies.”
Spyglass Media was formed a year ago with former MGM head Barber and Lantern Entertainment co-presidents Andy Mitchell and Milos Brajovic. It’s currently rebooting the “Scream” franchise with Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette returning.
The Artists First roster includes Jordan Peele, Kenya Barris, Awkwafina, Judy Greer, Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant, Kate McKinnon, Will Arnett, Randall Park, Ed Helms, Anthony Anderson, Tracey Ellis Ross, Martin Lawrence and Ike Barinholtz as well as directors, Michael Showalter and Jon M. Chu. Its comedy films include “Central Intelligence,” “Keanu,” “Like a Boss,” and “A Futile and Stupid Gesture” and comedy TV shows including “Black-ish, “Reno 911,“ “Key & Peele,” “Grown-ish” and “The Last O.G.”
Propagate Content has worked on the “Hillary” documentary on Hulu, “Adam Ruins Everything” and “Jane The Virgin.” Co-CEO Ben Silverman produced “The Office” and is the former co-chairman of NBC Entertainment.
Garner has overseen more than 170 feature films, including such comedies as “Tag,” “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” and “Isn’t It Romantic.” He is currently wrapping production on “Vacation Friends,” a comedy for 20th Century Studios
The joint venture deal was negotiated by Spyglass’ Cheryl Rodman with O’Melveny & Myers LLP and Propagate Content’s Drew Buckley and Kelly Fancher with Eisner LLP.