Movie studio The Film Department to go public

AP News
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Posted: Dec 07, 2009 11:08 AM

The Film Department Holdings Inc., a movie studio whose slate of films includes a thriller starring Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx, is planning to go public, according to a regulatory filing Monday.

The company, headed by a former Los Angeles Times and Newsweek reporter turned film executive, plans to offer 7.1 million common shares to the public at $12 to $14 per share out of a total 10.4 million shares outstanding. It seeks a listing on the Nasdaq Global Market under the ticker symbol, "TFD," according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

The Film expects to take in gross proceeds of $85 million from the initial public offering, plus $5.6 million in underwriters' warrants.

The Film recorded net revenue of $13 million from January to September and lost $14.2 million. Last year, the company had no revenue and lost $14.1 million. It has total debt of $62.3 million. The Film was founded in May 2007 by CEO Mark Gill _ the former reporter who also founded Warner Independent Pictures _ and COO Neil Sacker, a former executive with Yari Film Group.

The Film said it sees a market for its movies as major studios cut back on film production due to tight credit markets while consumer demand for movies continues to rise.

The West Hollywood, Calif.-based company said its strategy is to make moderately priced films in the range of $10 million to $45 million in broad genres, including romantic comedies and action movies. It plans to attract audiences to its movies by headlining the production with well-known stars.

The Film's strategy departs from those of major movie studios and other small independents. Big studios tend to focus on movies that cost more than $100 million in genres that appeal to the general public and starring major celebrities. Small shops lean toward artsy films with up-and-coming talent and tiny budgets.

The Film said it has 20 films in its pipeline covering the next five years. "Law Abiding Citizen," starring Butler and Foxx, had box office receipts of $70 million in North America in its first six weeks.

Coming in the spring is "The Rebound," a romantic comedy starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Justin Bartha.

The Film said it expects international licensing revenue to cover 80 percent of its net budget.

The underwriter is Girard Securities Inc., doing business as IPO Solutions.