Film exec to run Tang Media unit
Tang Media Partners, backed by China’s social media giant Tencent, has hired veteran film industry executive Rob Friedman to run its newly formed entertainment division. The move is the latest by the Los Angeles company to become a global show business player.
Tang, founded by former Bear Stearns Asia head Donald Tang in 2015, said Tuesday that Friedman, most recently co-chairman of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, was named chairman and chief executive of TMP Entertainment, overseeing film and TV assets including IM Global and newly acquired Open Road Films.
Friedman’s arrival comes just a day after Tang sealed a deal to buy “Spotlight” distributor Open Road Films from its previous co-owners, theater chains AMC Entertainment and Regal Entertainment, for an undisclosed sum.
Also, in a dramatic twist Monday, IM Global founder Stuart Ford was pushed out of the independent sales and distribution firm over what a person close to the situation said was a difference of opinion over the creative direction of the company. IM Global is known for backing movies such as Mel Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge.”
Tom Ortenberg, chief executive of Open Road Films, will remain with the company, reporting to Friedman.
Friedman, who starts his new job immediately, said that Tang is well positioned to become a formidable entertainment company because it now owns a domestic distributor in Open Road and an established foreign sales agent in IM Global.
TMP Entertainment plans to release about eight midsized films a year, plus two larger movies with franchise ambitions that cost close to $100 million to produce.