Berlin: Global Road Touts $1 Billion War Chest for Film Production

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Donald Tang, Rob Friedman

The ambitious plans were shared by Rob Friedman, Global Road's CEO of entertainment.

Donald Tang's fast-growing mini-studio Global Road Entertainment revealed at the Berlin International Film Festival on Thursday that it has amassed a $1 billion war chest to spend on film production over the coming three years. 

The plans were shared by Global Road's senior executive team during a gathering with international distributors and buyers on the first day of the European Film Market in the German capital.

The event was closed to the press, but several industry veterans in attendance confirmed the ambitious spending plans to The Hollywood Reporter.

"Over three years, we anticipate production spending in the $1 billion range," Rob Friedman, CEO of Global Road's entertainment division, said at the gathering. 

The Berlin event served as Global Road's international launch event. Along with Friedman, it was hosted by Rodolphe Buet, the company's incoming president of international, and Jack Pan, president of worldwide marketing. 

A spokesperson for Global Road declined to comment when contacted about the event. 

After two years of assembling assets through acquisitions, Global Road is gearing up for full-scale production. Tang previously told THR that his vision is for Friedman's team to work up to a slate of about 15 films a year, producing a mix of midbudget films and mini-tentpoles — precisely the sort of lineup Friedman became known for at Summit and Lionsgate.

Global Road is expected to begin announcing some of its projects during the Cannes Film Festival in May. The company also is working on a slate of Chinese-language films. 

Although headquartered in Los Angeles, Global Road has locally incorporated affiliate offices in Shanghai and Beijing, where some of its biggest backers are based. The company's strategic investors include Chinese tech giant Tencent, property developer China Everbright Limited, Li Ruigang's China Media Capital and Sequoia Capital's Neil Shen.

Founded in 2015, Global Road made its first major splash in mid-2016 when it bought a majority stake in Stuart Ford's foreign sales, financing and production outfit IM Global, while simultaneously launching a TV production fund with the company's then newly hatched IM Global Television unit (the two transactions were estimated to be worth a combined $200 million). The scope of Tang's ambitions became clearer in August when he completed a long-rumored takeover of North American distributor Open Road.