Open Road Owners AMC, Regal Explore Sale After Reporting $100 Million in Losses

Theater chains each own 50 percent of “Spotlight” studio

AMC Entertainment and Regal Entertainment are quietly shopping Open Road Films, the indie behind last year’s Best Picture Oscar winner “Spotlight,” an individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap.

While Open Road’s slate has picked up considerable critical acclaim under CEO Tom Ortenberg, the studio’s profits haven’t lived up to its prestige.

According to the most recent annual reports from AMC and Regal, who each own 50 percent of the indie distributor, the companies are each valuing their losses in the joint venture at more than $49.1 million — a total of $98 million. In addition, both included language in those reports saying they have no intention of pouring any more money into Open Road beyond their initial commitment — which is now tapped out. That would leave the studio looking elsewhere to raise capital.

Representatives from Open Road and Regal declined to provide comment. AMC did not respond to a request for comment.

The modestly budgeted “Spotlight” took home a healthy $88 million worldwide, but Open Road hasn’t had a film that has printed that kind of money since the 2015 commercial and critical breakout starring Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams and Liev Schreiber.

Oliver Stone’s “Snowden” topped out at $21.6 million at the box office last fall and failed to gain awards traction while the fact-based boxing drama “Bleed for This,” starring Miles Teller, fought its way to just $5 million domestically last fall. This year, the Nicholas Hoult-Felicity Jones starrer “Collide” reeled in just $4.8 million since its March 3 release.

Open Road’s highest-grossing film since “Spotlight” was last April’s “Mother’s Day,” which made $32.5 million at the domestic box office.

The company’s most recent release, “The Promise,” a historical drama set during the Armenian genocide and starring Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac and Charlotte le Bon, has grossed just $7 million since its April 21 opening on an estimated $90 million budget — though Open Road had no money invested in the film and merely received a distribution fee for handling distribution for Kirk Kerkorian’s Survival Pictures.

The company’s stumbles with its slate have been exacerbated by turnover in its marketing team. Last week, Loren Schwartz became the company’s third marketing president in just over a year — following the exit of predecessor Jonathan Helfgot for 20th Century Fox studio.

The good news for the company — and for any potential buyer or investor — is that the upcoming slate looks far more commercial than last year’s, headed by the Patrick Schwarzenegger-Bella Thorne romance “Midnight Sun” and “The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature,” an animated film that’s the sequel to Open Road’s highest-grossing film ever, “The Nut Job,” which grossed $120.9 million worldwide.