Person

Philip F. Anschutz

Born:

December 28, 1939

Occupation:

Businessman

Nationality:

American

Known For:

Conservative media holdings; Republican political donor

Philip F. Anschutz (born 1939) is a businessman and the president of The Anschutz Corporation, a holding company based in Denver, Colorado. Anschutz is a prominent donor to Republican politicians and a supporter of conservative advocacy causes, being perhaps best known for his ownership of the Washington Examiner and, from 2008 until its closure in 2018, the Weekly Standard.[1]

Anschutz Corporation

Philip Anschutz owns a number of businesses under the umbrella of his Anschutz Corporation.

Anschutz Entertainment Group

The Anschutz Entertainment Group owns several arenas, including the Staples Center in Los Angeles and the O2 in London; music festivals including the Stagecoach country music festival and the Coachella popular music festival; and sports teams including the National Hockey League’s Los Angeles Kings and Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy.[2]

Xanterra Travel Collection

Xanterra Travel Collection holds concessions in six national parks and also owns the Grand Canyon Railway and Windstar Cruises.[3]

Anschutz Exploration

Anschutz Exploration develops oil and gas leases in several Western states.[4]

Film Productions

Around 2000, Anschutz, who was a major owner of movie theatres through the Regal Entertainment Group, began to produce films.[5] In 2004, he told an audience at a Hillsdale College seminar: “My wife and I now have a number of grandchildren who are growing up surrounded by the products of this culture. So four or five years ago I decided to stop cursing the darkness—I had been complaining about movies and their content for years—and instead do something about it by getting into the film business.”[6]

Anschutz added that “our company, by the way, makes G and PG and, occasionally, very soft PG-13 movies. They are primarily family films—films that families can see together.  We expect them to be entertaining, but also to be life-affirming can carry moral messages.”[7]

In 2001, Anschutz acquired a majority stake in Walden Media.[8] Anschutz is reportedly more active in productions than most investors; Variety reported in 2004 that “one media mogul was taken aback” when Anschutz “tried to pitch him a film project, a task that should have been left to underlings.”[9] Producer Ken Wales told Christianity Today in 2007 that Anschutz personally insisted that director Michael Apted direct a film about 18th-sentury anti-slavery crusader William Wilberforce, which was released in 2006 as Amazing Grace.[10]

Walden Media’s largest project was a series adapting C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia novels. Lewis’s stepson, Douglas Gresham, who was involved in the negotiations, told Variety that Lewis’s estate supported selling the film rights to Anschutz because he both had the money to fund the films and was a Christian, as Lewis had been. Gresham said he admitted Anschutz “for bringing Christianity into the mainstream of everyday life as something that’s quite acceptable and normal.”[11]

The first Narnia film, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, earned $745 million in ticket sales when released in 2005. The second and third films, Prince Caspian and The Voyage of The Dawn Treader, had dwindling sales, and the series ended with the remaining four films unmade.[12]

In 2010, Walden Media co-produced Waiting for ‘Superman,’ a documentary about the problems of public schools produced by Participant Media, backed by Jeff Skoll.  Promotion for this documentary was paid for by grants from the Gates, Ford, and Broad Foundations.[13]  

Clarity Media Group

In 2004 Anschutz purchased Journal Newspapers, a chain of newspapers based in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. He used the purchase as a basis for forming the Clarity Media Group, headed by former Denver Post publisher Ryan McKibben.[14]

Examiner Properties

In 2006, Anschutz purchased the San Francisco Examiner and turned it into a free daily tabloid. Clarity Media also launched the Baltimore Examiner and the Washington Examiner as daily free newspapers. The Baltimore Examiner folded in 2009[15] and Clarity Media sold the San Francisco Examiner in 2011 to Black Media, publishers of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and the Akron Beacon-Journal.[16] In 2013 Clarity Media added a Washington Examiner website; in 2018, it converted the newspaper into a weekly political magazine.[17][18]

Regional Newspapers

Clarity Media owns two other newspapers. In 2011, it purchased the Oklahoma City Oklahoman in a deal that included the purchase of the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado.[19] In 2012 it purchased the Colorado Springs Gazette from Freedom Communications.[20]

Weekly Standard

In 2009, Clarity Media purchased the political magazine The Weekly Standard from News Corporation. In 2018, Clarity Media closed the magazine, with Ryan McKibben saying “double-digit declines” in subscriptions to the magazine “in all but one year since 2013” made the magazine no longer financially viable.[21]

The Broadmoor Hotel

In 2011, Anschutz purchased the historic Broadmoor Hotel, a resort property in Colorado Springs. Forbes in 2016 reported that he had spent $175 million upgrading the property. Anschutz told Forbes that he first visited the Broadmoor when he was five.[22]

He said that to ensure his intentions for the hotel would be honored, the Broadmoor would be controlled by a hundred-year trust, with future generations of trustees committed to upholding the hotel’s “four pillars” of history, tradition, service, and excellence. He said that “we’ve done everything we can” to ensure preservation of the Broadmoor to the next century.”[23]

References

  1. Calderone, Michael. “Phil Anschutz’s Conservative Agenda.” POLITICO, October 16, 2009. https://www.politico.com/story/2009/10/phil-anschutzs-conservative-agenda-028355. ^
  2. “AEG Worldwide:  About Us,” https://www.aegworldwide.com/about (accessed August 19, 2021) ^
  3. “Xanterra:  Who We Are,” https://www.xanterra.com/who-we-are/  (accessed August 19, 2021) ^
  4. “Anschutz Exploration Corporation.” Anschutz Exploration Corporation. Accessed August 23, 2021. https://www.anschutz-exploration.com/. ^
  5. In 2017 the British company Cineworld purchased Regal Entertainment Group for $3.6 billion.  Alanna Petroff, “Blockbuster Deal:  Cineworld Buys Regal for $3.6 Billion,” CNN, December 5, 2017, https://money.cnn.com/2017/12/05/media/cineworld-regal-entertainment-movie-takeover/index.html (accessed August 19, 2021) ^
  6. Philip F, Anschutz, “Whatever Happened To The Family Film?” Imprimis, June 2004, https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/whatever-happened-to-the-family-film/ (accessed August 19, 2021) ^
  7. Philip F, Anschutz, “Whatever Happened To The Family Film?” Imprimis, June 2004, https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/whatever-happened-to-the-family-film/ (accessed August 19, 2021) ^
  8. Charles Lyons, “Walden Media Merges Entertainment, Education,” Variety, March 13, 2002. ^
  9. Jonathan Bing, “Who is Philip Anschutz?”  VLife, October/November 2004. ^
  10. Mark Moring, “Amazing Abolitionist,” Christianity Today, March 2007. ^
  11. Jonathan Bing, “Who Is Philip Anschutz,” VLife, October/November 2004. ^
  12. Michael Cieply, “PG Filmmaker, R-Rated Partners,” New York Times, May 19, 2014. ^
  13. Ann Hornaday, “Making Change At The Box Office,” Washington Post, October 3, 2010. ^
  14. Annys Shin, “Anschutz Purchases Journal Newspapers,” Washington Post, October 1, 2004. ^
  15. Tricia Bishop, “Examiner Closing,” Baltimore Sun, January 30, 2009. ^
  16. David Migoya, “Anschutz-Led Clarity Media Sells San Francisco Examiner,” Denver Post, November 11, 2011, https://www.denverpost.com/2011/11/11/anschutz-led-clarity-media-sells-san-francisco-examiner/  (accessed August 19, 2021) ^
  17. Thomas Heath, “Carlyle Gives A Boost To Three Executives,” Washington Post, March 25, 2013. ^
  18. Guaglione, Sara. “’Washington Examiner’ Relaunches Magazine with NATIONAL Distribution, Aims Outside the Beltway.” ‘Washington Examiner’ Relaunches Magazine with National Distribution, Aims Outside The Beltway 12/05/2018, December 4, 2018. https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/328837/washington-examiner-relaunches-magazine-with-nat.html. ^
  19. “The Oklahoma Publishing Company To Be Sold,” The Oklahoman, September 16, 2011.  ^
  20. Mary Ann Milbourn, “Register Owner Sells Colorado Paper,” Orange County Register, December 1, 2012. ^
  21. “Clarity Media Group Announces Closure of The Weekly Standard,” press release from Clarity Media Group, December 14, 2018, https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/clarity-media-group-announces-closure-of-the-weekly-standard-300765757.html (accessed August 19, 2021) ^
  22. Christopher Heiman, “The Broadmoor Hotel:  Where billionaire Phil Anschutz Fell In Love with Business,” Forbes, October 5, 2016. ^
  23. Christopher Heiman, “The Broadmoor Hotel:  Where billionaire Phil Anschutz Fell In Love with Business,” Forbes, October 5, 2016. ^
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