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‘Spotlight’ studio Open Road completes $87.5-million sale to private equity firm

‘Spotlight’ studio Open Road completes $87.5-million sale to private equity firm
Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo and Brian d’Arcy James in "Spotlight." The film's studio, Open Road, officially has a new owner. (Kerry Hayes / Associated Press)

Open Road Films, the troubled Los Angeles-based studio behind the Oscar-winning movie “Spotlight,” has completed its sale to private equity firm Raven Capital Management for $87.5 million, Raven said Thursday.

The 8-year-old company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September after previous owner Donald Tang failed to raise badly needed capital. Tang promised to turn the business into a thriving global entertainment company, but the studio struggled amid a string of box office flops, including the sci-fi drama “A.X.L.” and Jodie Foster movie “Hotel Artemis.”

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New York-based Raven Capital first bid on the company anonymously in October, in a move that was meant to provide a floor for a bankruptcy auction. But the firm won the assets when no other buyers emerged, and the auction was canceled.

Open Road was launched in 2011 as a joint venture between theater chains AMC Entertainment and Regal Entertainment. The distributor was sold to Tang’s Tang Media Partners in 2017 and merged with international film sales agent IM Global to form Global Road.

But the venture never delivered on its promise to become a full-fledged studio that would take advantage of the flamboyant Tang’s connections to the growing Chinese market. The company struggled to generate hits as the market for mid-budget adult dramas evaporated.

Raven is now the owner of Open Road films such as “Spotlight,” the drama about the Boston Globe’s uncovering of the Catholic priest sex abuse scandal that won the best picture Oscar in 2016. Other pictures in Open Road’s library include computer-animated comedy “The Nut Job," Jon Favreau’s “Chef” and the ambulance-chaser thriller “Nightcrawler.”

Raven’s other entertainment assets include the Exclusive Media Group library, which holds the rights to such films as “Cruel Intentions” and “Donnie Darko.” It also owns a majority stake in David Ian Production, a producer and promoter of stage musicals. Raven said a broader feature film development strategy was in the works.

“We look forward to including the Open Road library in our larger portfolio of films and will continue to pursue opportunities to expand the size and scope of our platform,” said Raven principal and portfolio manager James Masciello, in a statement.

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