Open Road, the theatrical distributor behind 2016 best picture Oscar winner Spotlight, is relaunching in partnership with Tom Ortenberg’s Briarcliff Entertainment and will kick off with Liam Neeson action/thriller Honest Thief later this summer.

The company was acquired by New York private equity film Raven Capital Management in a $90m transaction in late 2018 and will resume acquiring and distributing features, backed by campaigns ranging from wide release to smaller films.

“Theatrical distribution has been in the works for us for a while,” said Raven principal James Masciello. “It is a natural extension of the single-picture and post-theatrical distribution capabilities that we’ve been building out for the better part of a decade.

“We’re not naïve to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has and will continue to create unique challenges, but the cinematic experience is not going away, and challenges create opportunity. Across all industries, Raven has built its platform brick by brick with a focus on sustainability over scalability. In doing so, we are well positioned to manage through uncertain times. We’re happy to be in business with Tom, someone I deeply respect and whose experience will be invaluable.”

Ortenberg added, “It’s an honour and pleasure to be working with James and everyone at Raven to relaunch Open Road Films. We will continue the Open Road tradition of quality, commercially viable motion pictures and I look forward to many successes together.”

Open Road Films is led by Raven’s Masciello with key support from Matt Sidari, and will ramp up its development, production and financing of features and television through its association and financing of Sculptor Media.

Raven and Sculptor, in partnership with Zero Gravity Management, recently completed production on The Marksman, also starring Neeson, and has several film and television projects in development

Raven’s purchase of Open Road Films included the rights to 45 released film titles, as well as related distribution contracts and other assets. The library includes A Haunted House, Chef, End Of Watch, and Snowden.