9 items from 2016
Exclusive: Lionsgate is circling Relativity’s 40-plus title library — which includes films such as Limitless and Act of Valor — after it has become clear that CEO Ryan Kavanaugh’s company is backed into a financial corner with cash flow rapidly declining. A Chapter 7 (liquidation) is on the horizon and could be filed before year’s end, sources tell Deadline, which if so would come only months after Relativity emerged from Chapter 11 restructuring in April. While multiple… »
Updated: No one ever accused Ryan of being a bad salesman.
The entrepreneur and his team from Relativity Media put on quite a show last spring for U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Michael Wiles.
They showed the New York judge bits of upcoming Relativity films, such as Kristen Wiig’s caper pic, “Masterminds,” currently in release, and Halle Berry’s upcoming thriller, “Kidnap.” They offered video testimony from Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey, who declared himself “enormously challenged and excited to become chairman of Relativity Studios.” They presented the judge with fresh fiscal blood — Chicago investor Joseph Nicholas, who promised that he would pump his own millions into the failed studio, with others sure to follow suit. Indeed, Kavanaugh’s film finance expert, Marni Wieshofer, of Houlihan Lokey Capital, assured the court there would be a “feeding frenzy” of new cash for Relativity, once the company cleared Chapter 11.
Less than seven months later, »
- James Rainey
Adam Keen will rejoin Warner Bros. as its senior vice president of national publicity, Variety has learned.
He heads back to Burbank after a stint guiding worldwide publicity and corporate communications at Broad Green Pictures. He left the indie label last summer after working on the rollouts of “A Walk in the Woods” and “99 Homes.” Since launching in 2014, Broad Green has struggled to consistently field commercial hits, losing money on last summer’s “The Infiltrator” and Terrence Malick’s “Knight of Cups.”
At Warner Bros., Keen will head up a new PR team, which will report directly to Juli Goodwin, the studio’s exec VP of national publicity. No word yet on what his portfolio will include. During a previous stint at Warner Bros., Keen worked on the campaigns for “Gravity,” “The Conjuring,” “Man of Steel,” “Blended,” and “Prisoners.” He left the studio in 2015.
- Brent Lang
Keep up with the always-hopping film festival world with our weekly Film Festival Roundup column. Check out last week’s Roundup right here.
– The BFI London Film Festival has announced its full program, running October 5 – 16. The festival will screen a total of 193 fiction and 52 documentary features, including 18 World Premieres, 8 International Premieres, 39 European Premieres. There will also be screenings of 144 short films, including documentary, live action and animated works. A number of directors, cast and crew are expected to take part in career interviews, Screen Talks, Q&As and Industry Talks: Lff Connects during the fest.
The festival has previously announced both its opener — Amma Asante’s “A United Kingdom” — and its closer — Ben Wheatley’s “Free Fire” — and those titles are joined by a bevy of new additions. Highlights include “The Birth of a Nation,” “Nocturnal Animals,” “Manchester By the Sea,” “La La Land” and many more. You can check »
- Kate Erbland
Relativity Media doesn’t have the $100 million it initially pledged to raise in new equity, or even its $20 million fall-back promise. It has signed on only the less-famous half of the two-man executive team it said would lead the company into the future. Yet representatives of Ryan Kavanaugh’s company will ask a judge Friday to let the embattled studio emerge from more than seven months in bankruptcy.
Throughout the process, the company has repeatedly claimed that new funding is just around the next corner, only to have deals fall through or fail to materialize. This time is different, it claims. In court filings over the weekend, attorneys for Relativity have assured U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Michael Wiles that the money needed to keep it afloat will end up in the bank.
Relativity’s lawyers want Wiles to confirm that Relativity’s reorganization plan is adequate, though less than previously advertised. »
- James Rainey and Brent Lang
The project will center on Lamarque’s story of surviving eight days following a snowboarding accident — and coming to terms with his drug addiction and destructive behavior.
Former Relatively Media president Tucker Tooley is making “6 Below” the first project of the newly formed Tooley Productions, which has invested equity in the film along with Sonar Entertainment Inc. Tom Lesinski’s Sonar jointly negotiated the deal with Tooley as the first of several planned films on which the companies will partner.
Tooley will produce “6 Below” with Waugh, Simon Swart from Rockpile Studios and Brad Pilz. Lesinski will executive produce.
“6 Below” will be one of the first films to be released in select theaters in partnership with Barco’s new Escape panoramic movie format for an immersive theatrical experience.
- Dave McNary
LeMarque, who played for the Northern Michigan University hockey team and on the French team in the 1994 Olympics, got lost snowboarding in a massive storm. He survived eight days with nothing but his wits to sustain him - at the same time coming to terms with a drug addiction, and the self-destructive behavior that left him stranded.
Scott Waugh ("Act Of Valor") will direct the film which will be one of the first to be released in select theaters in partnership with Barco's immersive new Escape panoramic movie format. Filming begins next month in Utah.
Source: Deadline »
- Garth Franklin
Relativity Studios has terminated the contract of communications chief David Shane, Variety has confirmed.
Shane was an indefatigable advocate for the bankrupt studio behind “Limitless” and “Act of Valor” as it collapsed last summer under the weight of its debts and too many film flops. His job was complicated by the studio’s penchant for announcing or leaking financial deals and operational shifts, only to have to backtrack.
His exit comes as Relativity is struggling to emerge from Chapter 11 protection. Founder Ryan Kavanaugh had said he had raised roughly $100 million in working capital, but in court proceedings, it was revealed that the figure he had secured was closer to $20 million. The company has also brought on Kevin Spacey and his producing partner Dana Brunetti to run the studio, but has yet to sign a deal with the men. In a press release, Relativity said it acquired Spacey’s company, Trigger Street, »
- Brent Lang
After a tumultuous year for Relativity Media that saw the independent company fall into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in late July, founder Ryan Kavanaugh is facing daunting challenges to reinvigorate his operation as 2016 gets underway. Following a series of lackluster films, the retreat of financial partners and accusations of fraud from a couple of one-time business allies, Relativity is looking at a tough road to recovery. Hollywood watchers are wondering whether the 41-year-old entrepreneur can right the ship and return the company to being a full-functioning entertainment enterprise. Here are 10 questions to help better understand whether Kavanaugh and his beleaguered company can stage a successful comeback this year.
Where is the money?
The reorganization plan Kavanaugh submitted to U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Michael Wiles calls for $100 million in new equity investment. But as the new year dawned, Relativity’s disclosure statements still left a big blank as to the source of that crucial money. »
- James Rainey
9 items from 2016
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