Hollywood Depression: Participant, Studio Behind ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ & More Woke Message Movies, Shuts Down

Interview with former U.S. vice-president Al Gore (right) and Jeff Skoll on making the fil
Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Left-wing billionaire Jeff Skoll’s woke film studio Participant is reportedly shutting down operations and eliminating most of its staff — the latest victim of Hollywood’s sharp downturn that has seen a bloodbath of layoffs and budget cuts.

Participant, founded in 2004, often financed projects with social justice and globalist themes, including former Vice President Al Gore’s climate change documentary An Inconvenient Truth and its sequel. Other titles include the Obama’s Netflix documentary American Factory and the Ruth Bader Ginsburg doc RBG.

The studio also helped bankroll two best-picture Oscar winners — Green Book and Spotlight.

Jeff Skoll (pictured, left) broke the news to Participant’s staff of roughly 100 on Tuesday, with almost all of them set to lose their jobs, according to a Variety report. There will be no new content development or production, while a skeleton crew will remain to oversee the studio’s library of about 135 titles.

“I founded Participant with the mission of creating world-class content that inspires positive social change, prioritizing impact alongside commercial sustainability. Since then, the entertainment industry has seen revolutionary changes in how content is created, distributed and consumed,” Skoll wrote in a memo obtained by Variety.

Hollywood’s tectonic shift to streaming entertainment has wreaked havoc with the specialty movie model that depends heavily on theatrical distribution to generate word-of-mouth business and awards-season buzz. Specialty titles that would once have received a theatrical release now almost all end up on streaming platforms in lieu of cinemas.

Participant also experienced a number of high-profile box office flops — including the environmentally themed Dark Waters, starring Mark Ruffalo, and the Matt Damon thriller Stillwater.

Participant has been led by former Universal boss David Linde, whose leadership brought prestige to the company with a number of high-profile releases, including Spotlight, Green Book, and Steven Spielberg’s The Post.

Other Participant tiles include Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion, which portrayed the World Health Organization as a heroic force during a global pandemic; and the documentary Page One: Inside the New York Times, a behind-the-scenes look at the Grey Lady.

Hollywood studios have been hit hard in the past year, enacting deep budget cuts amid a perfect storm of economic chaos that includes Americans continuing to cancel their cable TV subscriptions, the steep downturn in TV advertising, and streaming losses in the billions of dollars.

In addition, the industry is still recovering from last year’s strikes by Hollywood writers and actors.

Studios that have slashed their headcount in recent months include the Walt Disney Company, Paramount, Warner Bros. Discovery, and Amazon MGM.

Follow David Ng on Twitter @HeyItsDavidNg. Have a tip? Contact me at dng@breitbart.com


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