Annapurna Pictures, the studio that brought us films like Zero Dark Thirty, Her, and this year’s Booksmart, is on the verge of bankruptcy, according to news reports. They have failed to produce any box office hits with their releases. And last year, there were rumors that the studio was in danger of imploding. Now it looks like those rumors are true, as Megan Ellison, the founder of Annapurna Pictures, has “retained a law firm to explore bankruptcy protection.” More on the report below.
Ellison’s father is Larry Ellison, the billionaire founder of Oracle Corporation, while her brother founded Skydance Media, a producer of Terminator sequels as well as the upcoming Tom Cruise-starring vehicle Top Gun: Maverick. According to THR, the Ellison family will reportedly be entering negotiations to restructure their deals with the banks because Annapurna has “lost so much money — thanks to a string of soft box office … it could no longer sustain the hemorrhaging.”
Also, the studio was forced to cut ties with some of its other projects, which included an untitled Roger Ailes drama from Jay Roach and the Jennifer Lopez heist Hustlers. And another factor that may have to led up to this point is the production problems that have plagued the currently untitled Bond 25 sequel. Here’s some insight from THR:
But perhaps the biggest looming question is the fate of the James Bond franchise. Annapurna has at least a 50 percent stake in United Artists Releasing. Bond 25 — which has been plagued by setbacks including a director switch, star Daniel Craig’s ankle injury and at least two peeping Tom incidents involving hidden cameras in a bathroom.
If the production company were to enter bankruptcy, THR says that it would be a “huge blow” to the indie filmmaking industry. That’s because Ellison has backed many smaller projects like the aforementioned films, along with American Hustle, Sausage Party, as well as The Sisters Brothers and Destroyer.
However, in its 8-year run, the production company has also been able to earn some 52 Oscar nominations.
Here’s a letter that Megan Ellison wrote to the Annapurna Pictures team:
Dear AP Team,
I got word this morning that there are some rumblings around town about our current status with the banks and that a story is likely to hit the press at some point today.
Restructuring deals with financial institutions is not uncommon, yet the process is usually handled without a spotlight on it. Fortunately/unfortunately, people like to write about me and my family.
That said, it is of tremendous importance to me that you all know we are as committed as ever to this company and are in full support of our future.
Regardless of whatever comes out in the press, the truth is that we are well on our continued path towards success. There will always be speculation, misinformation and personal jabs in the press – that’s part of the business.
But know, none of that matters to me. What does is your sense of security and protecting the special community and culture at Annapurna. I believe in what we make and have no intention of stopping any time soon.
We have a lot of exciting things on the horizon and I have no doubt all of our hard work will continue to show Annapurna’s unique and powerful place in this industry.
If you have any questions or want to talk, please do not hesitate to reach out.