Nu Image today filed a lawsuit against shuttered Overture Films for what could be millions in unpaid proceeds from a trio of films. The films noted in the complaint (read it here) are 2010′s Brooklyn’s Finest, the 2008 Robert De Niro and Al Pacino movie Righteous Kill and 2008′s Mad Money starring Diane Keaton and Queen Latifah. Nu Image says that they and Brooklyn’s Finest Distribution inked deals with Overture for exclusive distribution rights for the films “in the United States and its territories for 20 years.” Noting that all three seemed to make good money theatrically and in home entertainment, the complaint alleges Breach of contract, the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing, Accounting and Declaratory Relief. Nu Image says that they have consistently received “sparse and oblique” participation statements from Overture and their then affiliate Starz Media. “Plaintiffs are informed and believe, and there on allege, that Defendant received or will receive monies, property or other benefits in connection exploitation of the Licensed Pictures, of which a percentage is due to Plaintiffs.
What is going on with Relativity Media? Less than six months after Ryan Kavanaugh announced with great fanfare the arrival of Geoffrey Ammer as president of worldwide marketing, Ammer is gone.
Ammer formally resigned today. His job will be taken by Peter Adee, who had been Overture’s president of worldwide marketing and distribution. My sources said the decision was made by Ammer, partly because he had been working under a year-long contract, which will be paid in full.
Both Ammer and Adee have their boosters. But with two good pieces of marketing manpower, you’d think Kavanaugh would have figured out ahead of time a way to create roles that would keep both, before he acquired Overture. But there they were, working alongside each other in essentially the same post. Can you say awkward? So Adee and his team will be staying.
Ammer formerly headed marketing for Sony Pictures and then Marvel Studios, before leaving to restart his own shingle G2 Consulting. It’s unclear if this puts G2 back in business.
Here is the announcement:
(Beverly Hills, CA) August 10, 2010– Geoffrey Ammer, President of Worldwide Marketing for Relativity Media is resigning from his post at the film company effective today. The news was announced by Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh. Ammer leaves Relativity shortly after the company’s move to acquire the marketing and distribution operations of Overture Films, and hands the reigns to Peter Adee, Overture’s President Worldwide Marketing and Distribution.
“We are very grateful for Geoffrey’s creative vision and contributions to Relativity’s successes,”
LOS ANGELES – JULY 23, 2010 – Relativity Media will take over the distribution and marketing operations and some assets of the Starz Overture Films subsidiary. Approximately 45 staff members, or two-thirds of Overture’s employees, will make the move to Relativity Media, including Peter Adee, formerly Overture Films’ President of Worldwide Marketing, Distribution and New Media, and Kyle Davies, Executive Vice President Theatrical Distribution.
Overture Films will release its remaining titles – Jack Goes Boating, Stone and Let Me In – through a new distribution services agreement with Relativity.
“We are in a great position to bring the marketing and distribution savvy of Peter and Kyle, and their teams to our home at Relativity,” said Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO of Relativity Media, LLC. “As we’ve been expanding this area of our business finding a team with the experience and breadth and depth that Peter and Kyle’s have couldn’t have been a more perfect fit. They have released an incredibly broad slate of films over the past 15 years including some of the highest grossing films in their respective years. I really commend Starz for its smart leadership in helping us make this move.”
“With our increased focus on original content, it no longer makes strategic sense for Starz to make theatrical
My pal Claudia Eller has a funny little scoop on the LA Times website about how Starz chief Chris Albrecht made a Blackberry mistake that led to Chris McGurk and Danny Rosett’s exit from Overture. (So I gotta ask: is this why moguls like Alan Horn and Ron Meyer refuse to use smart phones or even computers?) On July 1, Albrecht began a vacation in Majorca and read a hush-hush e-mail about the future of the Overture duo. Albrecht tapped out a confidential response suggesting that when he returned on July 12th there should be a discussions about removing the pair. But the reply went to approximately 400 Starz employees and senior executives — including McGurk and Rosett.
Enough is enough is enough. Starz topper Chris Albrecht at first was just going to shut down Overture and its home video arm Anchor Bay. (Founded in November 2006, Overture Films has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Starz LLC, which is a unit of Liberty Media Corp and which Albrecht runs along with the Starz Entertainment premium television business and the Starz Media production and distribution company.) Then he gave Chris McGurk and Danny Rosett months and months to find a buyer. But the time came today not to drag out this painful endgame. So Albrecht formally announced the departures of the Overture CEO and COO. Only patsies like the trades would believe the duo jumped before they were pushed over “strategic differences”. I’ve learned that the duo were told they would be fired if they didn’t resign first. Albrecht issued this terse statement: “I want to thank Chris and Danny for their dedication and hard work in building the studio from the ground up, and wish them well in their future business endeavors.” Now Peter Adee, president of worldwide marketing and distribution and new media, will oversee day-to-day operations of Overture. I’ll write more about the past, present, and future of Overture in a bit.