Open Road Films Closes Sale to Tang Media Partners

Open Road’s Tom Ortenberg will continue as indie studio’s CEO

Walter 'Robby' Robinson and Michael Keaton, Open Road's Tom Ortenberg, Director Tom McCarthy and First Look's Michael Bloom attend the SPOTLIGHT Oscar After-Party Hosted By Open Road, Participant Media, And First Look Media on February 28, 2016 in West Hollywood, California
Walter 'Robby' Robinson and Michael Keaton, Open Road's Tom Ortenberg, Director Tom McCarthy and First Look's Michael Bloom.

Tang Media Partners has acquired Oscar-winning independent film distributor Open Road Films, best known for releasing the art-house hits “Spotlight” and “Nightcrawler” despite posting nearly $100 million in losses.

As part of the deal, announced Monday, Open Road’s Tom Ortenberg will continue as the motion picture company’s CEO.

Tang Media — a China-connected firm founded by in 2015 by Donald Tang, a former chairman and CEO of Bear Stearns Asia — bought Open Road from AMC Entertainment Inc. and Regal Entertainment Group as part of a larger, overall $500 million expansion plan.

The two exhibition companies launched Open Road in 2011 with the goal to release filmmaker-focused and prestige titles throughout the year. Its biggest success was 2016’s “Spotlight,” which earned nearly $45 million in the U.S. and won the Best Picture Oscar.

Earlier this year, both AMC and Regal indicated that they were exploring a sale after valuing their losses in the joint venture at more than $49.1 million each in financial statements — a total of $98 million.

The sale comes a week after fellow indie distributor, Broad Green Pictures, laid off 20 percent of its staff and shuttered its production division after suffering a series of flops at the box office.

“Open Road is among the best independent theatrical distribution companies in the entertainment world, from its established infrastructure and dedicated leadership, to its solid track record for producing captivating stories,” Tang said in a statement. “Open Road’s addition to Tang Media Partners is a critical step in our strategy to enable our production team to collaborate with the most talented, visionary filmmakers in bringing targeted content to audiences everywhere.”

Upcoming Open Road releases include the animated family comedy “The Nut Job 2,” “Home Again,” starring Reese Witherspoon, and “Marshall,” which stars Chadwick Boseman as Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice.

“Our Open Road team is excited for this new milestone with TMP,” said Tom Ortenberg. “We have cultivated a strong reputation with filmmakers who seek theatrical releases outside of the major studio ecosystems. By joining TMP we’re able to offer these filmmakers studio capabilities that reach beyond established limits and international borders.”