Global Road Shake-Up: Layoffs Leave Film Studio Gutted

A.X.L. Still 2 - Publicity - H 2018
Tony Rivetti Jr/Global Road Entertainment

Pink slips have been handed out to employees in the London office, while layoffs hit the Los Angeles office on Tuesday. No severance is being offered.

Layoffs have left Global Road Entertainment's film operation gutted.

Pink slips first hit the company's tiny London office, where almost everyone besides international president Rodolphe Buet and his No. 2, Charlotte Van Weede, was shown the door. In the Los Angeles office, the layoffs commenced Tuesday morning.

By early Tuesday afternoon, sources said a total of 60 people are being laid off, including almost everyone working for the film division. The drastic action comes as the banks now in control of the movie unit consider their options, which include Chapter 11 bankruptcy and selling off various projects in the pipeline.

The lenders are insisting on no severance in a further blow to those employees being laid off, according to insiders.

Global Road's mini-film studio was thrown into chaos after owner Donald Tang of Tang Media Partners was unable to raise $200 million in financing. Insiders at Global Road say Tang has been noticeably absent in recent days, and hasn't communicated with employees. For now, Global Road CEO Rob Friedman remains in charge.

Word of the layoffs follow another major box-office miss for the mini-studio, which officially launched less than a year ago. Over the weekend, Global Road's family adventure A.X.L. bombed in its nationwide debut, grossing less than $3 million.

Last week, the primary lenders — Bank of America and East West Bank — took over Global Road's film operation. The international sales and TV operations are said to be in better standing because they have been generating revenue.

Tang began his foray into Hollywood in earnest in mid-2016 upon buying IM Global and simultaneously launching a TV production fund with the company's recently hatched IM Global Television unit. A year ago this month, he closed a deal to buy North American distributor Open Road Films and hired veteran Hollywood studio chief Friedman to run the combined companies. In October, the indie studio was rebranded Global Road Entertainment.

Global Road is said to have about 120 employees in total.

Aug. 28, 9:30 a.m. Updated with additional information about layoffs.
Aug. 28, 9:45 a.m. Updated with London and Los Angeles layoffs.
Aug. 28, 12:45 p.m. Updated.