Indie Film Company Alchemy Files for Bankruptcy

Company claims to have $50 million to $100 million in liabilities

Last Updated: July 7, 2016 @ 12:27 PM

Independent film distribution company Alchemy filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection last Friday in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, according to court records.

The company, which used to be Millennium Entertainment, claims to have $50 million to $100 million in liabilities, much more than its $10 million to $50 million in assets.

There are more than 8,700 creditors on the list Alchemy submitted to the court, including Universal Pictures, Warner Bros., Vice Magazine, HBO, Showtime, WME, A&E and Univision.

More details on the company’s financials will become known once Alchemy files additional documentation with the court.

“In fall 2014, an investment group and management team led by then CEO, Bill Lee, formed Our Alchemy LLC,” reads a message that was recently posted on Alchemy’s website. “Throughout its first year, Alchemy rolled out a comprehensive strategy of acquisitions including films, businesses and broad distribution agreements. The execution of this strategy proved to have an adverse impact on the financial health of the business. By the end of 2015 Alchemy had become financially distressed and ownership recruited a new executive team.

“During 2016, Alchemy conducted extensive efforts to optimize performance, recapitalize the business, and thoroughly explored and pursued its strategic alternatives. Unfortunately, the company’s financial viability could not be salvaged. As such, Alchemy has elected to pursue an orderly liquidation under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code in the State of Delaware, and has released its entire staff.”

TheWrap first learned last week that Alchemy has debts in the tens of millions of dollars, according to a source with knowledge of the company’s condition.

The company, whose acquisitions include the current art-house release “The Lobster,” starring Colin Farrell, went through a dramatic management change last December when chief Bill Lee stepped down and industry veterans Kelly Summers and Scott Guthrie became co-presidents.

Summers stepped down two weeks ago, following deep staffing cuts.

Lee continued on in December as an adviser to the Alchemy board and as an investor in the independent film and television distributor.

Guthrie, who remained as president, is responsible for leading sales, operations and finance. He reports to Jesse Watson, chairman of the Alchemy board.

The company has distributed the work of some of the world’s finest filmmakers, including Richard LinklaterWerner Herzog, Gregg Araki, Dito MontielJohn HillcoatJohn TurturroLee DanielsOren Moverman and James Cameron, and it owns a catalog of more than 1,000 film titles.

Alchemy distributes film titles and programming for clients including Air Bud Entertainment, DreamWorks Animation, Microsoft, Magnolia, MPI Media, Music Box Films, nCircle, PBS, Phase 4 Films, Team Marketing, Vertical and Well Go USA.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.