Spyglass Media Group Lands Warner Bros. as Strategic Investor

Gary Barber -Getty-H 2019
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As AT&T's WarnerMedia gets set to launch a streaming service, the Hollywood studio will have a first-look deal for content with Gary Barber's production firm.

Spyglass Media Group has secured Warner Bros. Pictures as a strategic investor.

The deal, unveiled Tuesday by Gary Barber, chairman and CEO of Spyglass, will see Warner Bros. take an equity stake in the development, finance and production company, while the partners have also inked a first-look arrangement for content.

Financial terms for the pact were not disclosed, but it comes as AT&T's WarnerMedia, which includes Warner Bros., gets set to launch a content-hungry, direct-to-consumer streaming service later this year.

"For many years, Warner Bros. has been a dedicated studio partner and we have shared numerous successes together. Their confidence in Spyglass’ brand and vision is invaluable as we continue to build a premier content company. I look forward to our future collaborations together," Barber said in a statement.

Spyglass did not specify whether its first-look deal with Warner Bros. is for film and TV product, but both partners are expected to collaborate across all platforms.

Former MGM head Barber last month took control of the film and TV assets that Lantern Entertainment acquired in the 2018 Weinstein Co. bankruptcy through a new partnership called Spyglass Media Group. The new partnership has Lantern Entertainment co-presidents Andy Mitchell and Milos Brajovic as majority investors, with Italian distributor Eagle Pictures and theatrical chain Cineworld Group also on board as strategic stakeholders.

At the time, Barber signaled that Spyglass would be opportunistic in securing distribution for its product. "We feel the distribution platforms that are out there are excellent, and we will take advantage of those opportunities to send our product through those distribution platforms," he said.

Barber's ties to Warner Bros. go back to the global releases of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Ace Ventura when he was with Morgan Creek Productions. Barber later worked with Warner Bros. on the theatrical release of Four Christmases and Invictus while at Spyglass Entertainment, and most recently collaborated on the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures’ co-productions of the Hobbit trilogy, the Creed franchise and the sleeper hit Me Before You.

Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich added in his own statement: "We have a long, successful relationship with Gary and we’re excited to be in business with him at Spyglass. We’re looking forward to exploring the creative opportunities Spyglass has to offer."

Spyglass is home to over 250 film and TV library titles, including Project Runway, The King’s Speech and The Artist.