Spielberg-backed consortium forms film, TV and digital content creation company_20.12.2015



| 19 December 2015

A cohort of Hollywood heavyweights including DreamWorks Studios, Participant Media, Reliance Entertainment and Entertainment One have formed a next-gen media company, Amblin Partners.

The board and backers of Amblin comprise a who’s who of legends and stellar players. It includes Steven Spielberg, principal partner, DreamWorks Studios; Participant Media chairman Jeff Skoll; Anil Ambani, chairman of the Reliance Group; and Darren Throop, president and chief executive officer, Entertainment One (eOne).

Funding for the new concern was headed by J.P.Morgan Chase, which has structured and arranged a $500 million debt syndication together with Comerica Bank, which served as Co-Lead. Other financial institutions involved included Sun Trust Bank, Union Bank, City National Bank and Bank of America, among others.

The stated aim of the new company to be led by CEO Michael Wright and President and COO Jeff Small will be to create content using the Amblin brand and also that of DreamWorks Pictures and Participant to ‘tell stories that appeal to a wide range of audiences’. Participant Media will remain a separate company that will independently develop, produce and finance projects with socially relevant themes.

Amblin Television will become a division of Amblin Partners and will be run by co-presidents Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank. David Linde, Chief Executive Officer of Participant Media, and Participant’s narrative feature team, led by Executive Vice President Jonathan King, will work closely with Amblin Partners to develop and produce specific content for the new venture in addition to exploring opportunities for co-productions and other content.

eOne will handle the direct distribution of Amblin Partners films on a multi-territory output basis in Australia/New Zealand and Spain as well as the United Kingdom and the Benelux, where it previously had a successful output arrangement with DreamWorks Studios.

Film projects in various stages of production include The BFG, and The Light Between Oceans, scheduled for release by Disney in 2016; The Girl on the Train,” scheduled for release in October 2016; A Dog’s Purpose, scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2017 and “Ready Player One,” a co-production between Amblin Partners and Warner Bros. Pictures that is scheduled to be released in December of 2017.

Upcoming shows from Amblin TV include All the Way, an HBO film directed by Jay Roach and starring Bryan Cranston, with an airdate to be announced; and American Gothic, a summer series that will air on CBS and begin production in February 2016.

In making the announcement about Amblin Partners, Spielberg said: “We are thrilled to partner with Jeff Skoll, Participant Media, and to continue our prolific relationship. We are of like minds, as our many collaborations have illustrated, with a mutual commitment to quality, premium entertainment and global vision. We are honoured to continue our long-term association with our dear friend, Anil Ambani and his team at Reliance. We have had the opportunity to develop and produce wonderful films thanks to their ongoing support.”