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Mipcom: Relativity’s Ryan Kavanaugh On ‘Limitless’ Possibilities, Movies As Pilots, New Content Platform For Studio’s Output

By | Tuesday October 8, 2013 @ 10:12am PDT

Relativity Media founder and CEO Ryan Kavanaugh strode onto the main stage here at Mipcom today, providing a run-down of his business model versus the Hollywood studios’ “blockbuster or bust” mentality, declaring that Relativity’s just-announced Limitless TV series “could be one of the biggest shows that’s ever been”, and announcing his intention to build a digital TV Everywhere-style platform within the next 12 months.

Kavanaugh was in Cannes in support of Limitless and Act Of Valor, two new series based on the studio’s own films. Bradley Cooper is executive producing Limitless, which is part of Relativity’s expansion into scripted television. Kavanaugh said some very big stars were interested, adding “Who knows? (Cooper) may be in the first episode.” Relativity also just received a greenlight at National Geographic Channel for its first scripted series, drama Act Of Valor. The company’s unscripted portfolio already has 17 series currently on air including MTV hit Catfish, an offshoot from its documentary feature.

Related: Relativity Teams For Series Based On Film ‘Limitless’

Kavanaugh explained he had an “epiphany” about turning Relativity movies into TV shows after Catfish. Although the film was profitable, it was an underperformer by traditional measures. Yet, young people kept telling him how much they enjoyed it. “Based on what I was hearing, I went back to all of our underperformers” to look at their sell-thru, on demand and DVD numbers as well as the marketing and he realized that if a percentage of the films’ audience could be converted to TV, it would be a win. The same theory could be applied to films that had broader box office appeal, à la Limitless, he said. With 20 million-plus viewers already invested in the movie, “it was the biggest pilot of all time. No TV show has ever had this.” Read More »

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Relativity Teams With Georgeville & Bradley Cooper For Series Based On Film ‘Limitless’

By | Sunday October 6, 2013 @ 1:55pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Relativity Television has partnered with Georgeville Television and actor/producer Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook) for Limitless, a scripted TV series based on Relativity’s hit 2011 movie starring and executive produced by Cooper. He will executive produce the drama, with the film’s producers Leslie Dixon and Scott Kroopf serving as co-executive producers. The announcement will be made at the upcoming MIPCOM market in Cannes, where Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh will give a keynote speech Tuesday. “Limitless is the perfect example of Relativity’s multiplatform approach to creating quality content,” he said. Added Georgeville TV CEO Marc Rosen, “The film has an organic natural extension into a compelling and sophisticated one-hour drama that is both a thrill-ride and a social commentary.”

The Limitless feature, which starred Cooper, Robert De Niro and Abbie Cornish, is a paranoia-fueled action thriller about an unsuccessful writer whose life is transformed by a top-secret “smart drug” that allows him to use 100% of his brain and become a perfect version of himself. His enhanced abilities soon attract shadowy forces that threaten his new life. (Watch the trailer after the jump.) The film opened at No. 1 at the domestic box office on its way to grossing more than $160 million worldwide and subsequently sold 2 million-plus home video units. Read More »

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KAGAN: March Was Dismal for Movie Profits

I love these kinds of reports because they confirm for us what we already suspect. According to research firm SNL Kagan, a film must hit 1.75 on its Kagan Profitability Index to become a moneymaker. But the dozen March releases will average 1.03 — down from the 1.78 average from a year ago (which included hits Disney’s Alice In Wonderland and DreamWorks’ How To Train Your Dragon.) Analyst Wade Holden writes that certain money losers will be Relativity’s Take Me Home Tonight and Warner Bros’ Red Riding Hood. But Holden expects Disney’s Mars Needs Moms from Robert Zemeckis’ ImageMovers Digital to be the biggest bomb, projected to generate just $81.3 million in revenues, although it cost $264.8 million to produce, distribute, and market. The Kagan report says Sony’s Battle: Los Angeles, Relativity’s Limitless, and Paramount’s Rango may come close “if [the studios] have a favorable distribution agreement” with theaters.

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Bradley Cooper’s ‘Limitless’ Opens #1 On Soft Weekend; ‘Lincoln Lawyer’ #4, ‘Paul’ #5

SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM, 4TH UPDATE: It’s clear that too many potential moviegoers were busy watching March Madness basketball these past 3 days. After some pre-weekend uncertainty, the North American office has a clear road warrior: Virgin/Relativity’s Limitless starring Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro. It finished #1 with $6.6 million Friday and $7.4M Saturday and an estimated $5M Sunday for an overperforming $19M after Hollywood expected just a $10M-to-$15M result.

After that, it was a freeway pile-up with holdover Paramount’s Rango coming in 2nd because of a big Saturday matinee kiddie bump, followed by another holdover Sony Pictures’ Battle: Los Angeles coming in 3rd. Working Title/Universal’s Paul fell behind Lionsgate’s The Lincoln Lawyer*. Lionsgate is now saying 190,000 tickets were sold for The Lincoln Lawyer through the 48-hour Groupon/Fandango discount deal, with  about 20,000 actually redeemed at the box office Friday and another 18,000 redemmed Saturday (about a 20% redemption rate). This comes to about 2.5% of the box office but that’s enough Lionsgate-subsidized ticket coin to change the film rankings for this very competitive weekend. ”It was always about awareness,” Lionsgate emails. “This was a new marketing promotion that reached 4 million people for not a whole lot of money.” Here is the Top 10.

1. Limitless (Relativity) NEW [2,756 Theaters]
Friday $6M, Saturday $7.6M, Weekend $19M

I have to say it’s nice to see Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity Media receive a Big Gulp at the box office after a long drought on the movies he distributes. And this wasn’t even a schlocky film. It was also co-produced by Virgin Produced, Sir Richard Branson’s first film from his newly formed production company. Relativity released the upscale Limitless in the U.S. through its own maturing distribution system and in Canada via Alliance Films and now can celebrate this success. So can Bradley Cooper who’s now a bonafide post-Hangover movie star able to open a film on his name and image alone. (No way this film would have been as successful with Shia LaBeouf in the lead role which was the case when Relativity’s Rogue Pictures first took it over after it moved from Miramax to Intermedia to Universal.) The estimated gross was well above Relativity’s and Hollywood’s projections mostly thanks to a smart marketing campaign that tapped into the most intriguing elements of the pic’s high-concept plot in an easy-to-grasp way for both guys and gals. (Take that pill? For me, Bayer Aspirin with an Advil chaser has the same effect.) Best of all, the pic’s production cost supposedly just under $30 million, reduced from the $50M budget Universal had earmarked, a veritable bargain these days especially considering the presence of both Cooper who also snagged an executive producer credit and Robert De Niro. (“Our net investment is under $1 million as a result of our  successful foreign sales and soft money initiatives from the Pennsylvania tax rebate for shooting on location in Philadelphia,” a Relativity exec tells me.) CinemaScore was a B+. Exit polls showed the audience was 52% female and 48% male, while 40% was under 25 and 60% was age 25 and over. The ethnic breakdown of moviegoers was 43% Caucasian and 57% non-Caucasian including 19% Hispanic, 17% African-American, 11% Asian, and 11% other. The film was directed by Neil Burger (The Illusionist) who normally writes and helms his own films. But writer Leslie Dixon acquired the rights to the novel “The Dark Fields” by Alan Glynn and adapted the screenplay for less than her normal quote in exchange for being made one of the film’s producers. Then she and fellow producer Scott Kroopf approached Burger to direct the film.

3. Rango (Paramount) Week 3 [3,843 Theaters]
Friday $4.1M, Saturday $6.7M, Weekend $15.3M, Cume $92.5M

2. Battle: Los Angeles (Sony Pictures) Week 2 [3,417 Theaters]
Friday $4.5M, Saturday $6.1M, Weekend $14.6M (-59%), Cume $60.6M

4. The Lincoln Lawyer* (Lionsgate) New [2,707 Theaters]
Friday $4.4M, Saturday $6M, Weekend $13.4M

5. Paul (Working Title/Universal) NEW [2,802 Theaters]
Friday $4.5M, Saturday $5.2M, Weekend $13.1M

Another of those Simon Pegg and Nick Frost farces (Hot Fuzz, Shaun Of The Dead), this comedy isn’t from American filmmakers who tend to do the vast majority of their business domestically. But not even Steven Spielberg playing a small part in this E.T./Close Encounters Of The Third Kind spoof could improve modest North American grosses for Universal’s Paul. But it doesn’t much matter. Because Working Title pics make all their money overseas, and this one already has performed “incredibly” in the UK and France with $28.1M international cume, according to Universal which said worldwide grosses after this weekend are $41.3M on a $40M budget. Internationally the film continues its rollout with another five territories and has 53 more territories to go in the coming months. The film’s domestic tracking had been growing — or so the studio thought — but the pic ended smack in the middle of so-so $10M-$15M expectations. Cinemascore was a “B+” with under age 25 moviergoers giving it an “A-”. Audience composition was 56% male/44% female, and 58% over age 25/42% under age 25. Relativity Media is a partner in the film.

6. Red Riding Hood (Warner Bros) Week 2 [3,030 Theaters]
Friday $2.4M, Saturday $3.1M, Weekend $7.2M (-48%), Cume $25.9M

7. The Adjustment Bureau (MRC/Universal) Week 3 [2,660 Theaters]
Friday $1.7M, Saturday $2.6M, Weekend $5.9M, Cume $48.7M

8. Mars Needs Moms 3D (Disney) Week 2 [3,117 Theaters]
Friday $1.5M, Saturday $2.2M, Weekend $5.3M (-28%), Cume $15.4M

9. Beastly (CBS Films/Sony) Week 3 [1,810 Theaters]
Friday $1M, Saturday $1.2M, Weekend $3.2M, Cume $22.2M

10. Hall Pass (New Line/Warner Bros) Week 4 [1,905 Theaters]
Friday $825K, Saturday $1.1M, Weekend $2.6M, Cume $39.5M Read More »

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FilmNation, Relativity Media Seal Offshore Distribution Deal

(Beverly Hills, CA) January 13, 2011 – FilmNation Entertainment and Relativity Media LLC. are in final negotiations to solidify an exclusive multi-year deal whereby FilmNation would oversee the international sales and distribution of Relativity titles, produced under their single picture business. The union is slated to begin prior to the Berlin Film Festival. Final details of the deal will be disclosed in the coming weeks along with the films that will fall into this new arrangement.

Relativity’s 2011 slate includes Season of the Witch, currently in theaters, starring Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman. After that is Take Me Home Tonight on March 4th, starring Topher Grace and Anna Faris. Following on March 18th, is the much-anticipated Limitless, starring Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish and Oscar®-winner Robert De Niro. Relativity recently announced its acquisition of the Untitled David R. Ellis 3D Shark Thriller which will release in theaters on September 2nd.

The companies are currently collaborating on upcoming Relativity / Universal release, James Cameron’s Sanctum – with FilmNation handling the international sales.

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