UPDATE: Maker Studios Rejects Relativity’s Acquisition Offer Saying It Has A Done Deal With Disney

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UPDATED: Maker says Relativity is too late. The online studio’s deal with Disney “has been approved by Maker Studios’ Board of Directors and the majority of its shareholders and is expected to close in the next few weeks, subject to regulatory approval.” Oh, it also notes that the effort to block he deal in court “was denied today by The Superior Court of California; County of Los Angeles, Central District.” Relativity responds that it “made a compelling offer” and will “continue to aggressively explore future opportunities that align with our strategy to accelerate digital content creation and distribution.”

PREVIOUS, 8:58 AM: Is $1B in stock from Relativity worth more than $950M in cash from Disney? That’s the proposition Relativity is offering online multichannel company Maker Studios today. It sent a letter of intent last night that it says “is superior to the current offer from Walt Disney” that the Maker board accepted last month. The plan developed with help from Jefferies and Barclays includes $500M in Relativity shares, $400M in stock when Maker hits “certain financial milestones,” plus $100M in stock to go to “key talent and executives” who also “are not existing stockholders of the Company.” Relativity says that both it and Maker “are natural partners” because both “share a commitment to challenging the status quo, Relativity_newlogobreaking down old models that don’t work and inventing new ones that do.” Disney believes that the deal it struck with Maker last month — $500M upfront and $450M with milestones — is binding, so we’ll see where this goes.

The proposal does not appear to be directly related to an effort by former Maker execs including co-founder Danny Zapplin to persuade the LA Superior Court to block the deal with Disney. The application for a temporary restraining order wants to put things on hold while the plaintiffs try to demonstrate that  current Maker execs are “skimming tens of millions of dollars for themselves by kicking back to the other stock adverse to the common shareholder.” Disney isn’t named as a defendant in the matter. Read More »

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UPDATE: Focus’ ‘Theory Of Everything’ Set For November; Relativity Dates ‘November Man’ For August; Disneynature’s ‘Monkey Kingdom’ Due In 2015

Focus Features logoEddie Redmayne stars as physicist Stephen Hawking in Theory Of Everything, which Focus Features has set for a platform release on Friday, November 7, 2014. It will then expand the following two weekends. The Working Title biopic directed by Man On Wire‘s James Marsh focuses on the relationship between Hawking and his wife Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones), the arts student he fell in love with while studying at Cambridge in the 1960s. Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Charlie Cox, Simon McBurney, Maxine Peake and Harry Lloyd co-star and the script is by Anthony McCarten.

piercebrosnanRelativity Media said today it has dated the Pierce Brosnan spy thriller November Man for Wednesday, August 27, 2014. Olga Kurylenko and Luke Bracey co-star in the pic directed by Roger Donaldson based on Bill Granger’s novel There Are No Spies. The release date news comes a week after Relativity acquired U.S. distribution rights to the film, with a commitment to a wide release this year. Michael Finch and Karl Gajdusek wrote the screenplay, which centers on a former CIA operative who is brought back in on a very personal mission and is pitted against his former protégé in a deadly game involving high-level CIA officials and the Russian President-elect. Read More »

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Relativity Acquires ‘November Man’ As Pierce Brosnan Gets Back In Spy Mode

By | Wednesday April 2, 2014 @ 9:00am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Relativity has acquired U.S. distribution rights piercebrosnanto November Man, the Roger Donaldson-directed spy-thriller that stars Pierce Brosnan, Olga Kurylenko and Luke Bracey. It marks the second project for Relativity with Donaldson, who helmed the 2008 hit The Bank Job. Relativity has committed to a wide release later this year. The film is produced by Brosnan’s Irish DreamTime and Das Films, in association with The Solution Entertainment Group, Merced Media Partners and Palmstar Media Capital.

spiesThe thriller is an adaptation of the Bill Granger novel There Are No Spies, in which a former CIA operative who is brought back in on a very personal mission finds himself pitted against his former protégé in a deadly game involving high-level CIA officials and the Russian President-elect. The film is produced by Brosnan’s longtime partner Beau St. Clair and Sriram Das. Michael Finch & Karl Gajdusek wrote the script. Relativity president Tucker Tooley was at the center of the deal. Read More »

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U.S. Adaptation Of British Reality Format ‘Sex Box’ Gets Pilot Order At WE TV

By | Tuesday March 11, 2014 @ 12:13pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Sex BoxEXCLUSIVE: Provocative British reality format Sex Box is getting a U.S. adaptation. WE tv has ordered an hourlong pilot for the project from Relativity TV. In Sex Box, real couples whose relationships are on the rocks enter … Read More »

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Relativity Sets Lasse Hallstrom, ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ Scribe Craig Borten For John D. Rockefeller Pic

Mike Fleming

TitanJohnDRockefellerRelativity has optioned the Ron Chernow book Titan: The Life Of John D. Rockefeller and will develop a feature on America’s first billionaire for Lasse Hallstrom to direct. Script will be written by Craig Borten, who is Oscar-nominated for Dallas Buyers Club.

The patriarch of one of the country’s richest families, Rockefeller was ruthless in building Standard Oil, and spent 30 years dodging investigations into his business tactics until Teddy Roosevelt took him on. Rockefeller also turned into a philanthropist who gave away most of his fortune. Hallstrom sparked to telling the story of “the first Rockefeller, John D., and his rise to fame and fortune.”

SELF Magazine and Relativity Media's Special New York Screening of "Safe Haven" - Red Carpet2014 Writers Guild Awards Annual Beyond Words Panel EventIt is a sprawling undertaking, but Borten is used to that. He said he met Dallas Buyers Club protagonist Ron Woodruff in 1992 and had his first script draft done two years later, and it took nearly two decades for the film to get made. On the surface, the two subjects seem entirely different but Borten sees similarities. “Each saw capitalism as a way to divide and conquer and accumulate but ultimately became most memorable for giving back,” he told me. “Lasse’s early films like My Life As A Dog and Gilbert Grape changed my view of storytelling with his humanistic approach to characters. That was a major reason for me doing this.” Read More »

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Paul Walker Movie ‘Brick Mansions’ Pushed To April Release

By | Thursday February 6, 2014 @ 11:47am PST

BrickMansionsRelativity Media said today that Brick Mansions, one of final films completed by Paul Walker before he was killed in a car crash in November, will be released in theaters on April 25. A February date had … Read More »

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Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh On Tom Sherak

By | Thursday January 30, 2014 @ 7:49am PST
Mike Fleming

sherakAdd Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh to the chorus of industry heavyweights who owe a debt to Tom Sherak, who died this week. The film business basically shuts down part of today as they gather to pay tribute to the former AMPAS head.

Related: Hollywood Remembers Tom Sherak

An Open Letter from Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO of Relativity:

I first met Tom Sherak when I was a student at UCLA. Tom taught a course called “Distribution 101.” I was fortunate enough to not only have him as my teacher, but for him to become my mentor. That first class led to what would become a lifelong friendship and an incredible source of personal encouragement and strength for me. I always knew that no matter what the issue or how seemingly unsurmountable the problem, Tom would be there to guide me. I deeply mourn his loss, but more importantly, celebrate his life.

This is an incredible man. Tom strived to make the world better, and we should honor and remember him for his life changing contributions to industry, medicine and philanthropy.

In an industry where adversity is too often the norm and where new ideas are often fought with vigor, Tom was a consistent voice for positive change. He relished in the success of others — not for personal financial gain but for the love of being a great mentor and friend. Tom’s spirit will continue to live on through the many people he guided, helped and loved. His contributions are immeasurable.

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Sundance: WWE Studios Takes Stake In Toronto Genre Pic ‘Oculus’

By | Friday January 17, 2014 @ 4:40pm PST
Mike Fleming

ocuWWE Studios has teamed with Relativity and Blumhouse Productions on the Mike Flanagan-directed Intrepid Pictures horror film Oculus, which was acquired at Toronto last fall. The film stars Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Rory Cochrane and Katee Sackhoff. WWE Studios will lend its hand in promoting the film which was produced by Trevor Macy and Marc D. Evans, who co-financed with MICA Entertainment. Pic will be released theatrically on April 11. The screenplay is by Flanagan & Jeff Howard based on the short film Oculus: The Man With The Plan, written by Flanagan & Jeff Seidman. Read More »

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Relativity Moves Horror Pic ‘Oculus’ Out Of Easter Weekend

By | Thursday January 16, 2014 @ 2:52pm PST

OculusAnd now there are five movies opening wide the weekend before Easter. Relativity has shifted Oculus from April 18 — where it slotted the horror pic only a month ago — to April 11, adding to an already-crowded … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘3 Days To Kill’

McG‘s darkly comic action thriller follows a Secret Service agent (Kevin Costner) who comes out of retirement for one last mission in exchange for access to an experimental drug –administered by Amber Heard — that could save his life. Hallucinatory action ensues as he tries to complete the … Read More »

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Relativity & Blumhouse Set April Release For ‘Oculus’

By | Wednesday December 11, 2013 @ 9:55am PST

oculusMike Flanagan directs the horror pic about a pair of grown siblings who set out to expose and destroy the haunted mirror they believe was responsible for their parents’ murder ten years prior, starring Karen Gillen (Doctor Who), Brenton … Read More »

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‘Out Of The Furnace’ Headed To LA & NYC Two Days Before Wide Release

By | Thursday November 21, 2013 @ 5:27pm PST

Folks in America’s media capitals will get an early look at Scott Cooper‘s awards-season drama. Relativity said today that Out Of The Furnace will open December 4 in limited release in Los Angeles … Read More »

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Chris Pratt In Early Talks For ‘Jurassic World’; Dwayne Johnson & Relativity Set For ‘Not Without Hope’; Hannah Marks Joins ‘Anesthesia’; Harry Hamlin & Irina Bjorklund Spark ‘Erotic Fire’

By | Wednesday November 13, 2013 @ 6:44pm PST

Chris Pratt is in very early talks for Jurassic World, the 3D sequel that Universal will release June 12, 2015. The actor would play the role Josh Brolin was being  eyed for last month. Colin Trevorrow is directing the pic, and he co-wrote the latest draft with Derek Connolly. Steven Spielberg is producing the film with Frank Marshall and Pat Crowley. Pratt next appears in the Vince Vaughn starrer Delivery Man , which opens next weekend. He has a voice role in The Lego Movie and also will star in Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy. Recent film credits include Zero Dark Thirty and The Five-Year Engagement. Pratt also stars on NBC’s Parks And Recreation. He is repped by CAA and Mosaic.

Related: Ty Simpkins Lands Lead In ‘Jurassic World’

Dwayne Johnson is attached to star in Not Without Hope for Relativity, which will finance, produce, and distribute the deep-sea survival pic. Johnson will play Nick Schuyler, whose best-selling memoirs form the true-story basis of the film. Pic tracks Schuyler and his three buds, including NFL players Marquis Cooper and Corey Smith and ex-college athlete Will Bleakley, whose fishing trip went awry, leaving the foursome adrift off the coast of Florida in 2009. Read More »

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Ryan Kavanaugh Aligns Relativity With Major League Gaming

By | Tuesday October 22, 2013 @ 7:42am PDT
Mike Fleming

Relativity Media‘s Ryan Kavanaugh has aligned with e-sports enterprise Major League Gaming and joined its board of directors. I am not sure where all this sports e-stuff is going, but it certainly bolsters Kavanaugh’s credentials if, for instance, he was vying to become commissioner of your fantasy football league. Actually, Relativity Sports has become one of Kavanaugh’s biggest business, repping over 300 athletes and growing. This alliance, he hopes, will allow him to marry his sports and content creation businesses.

Relativity and Major League Gaming (MLG), the global leader in eSports, today announced a strategic content and marketing partnership across sports management, television, film and digital media. In addition, Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO of Relativity, has joined the MLG Board of Directors, working with the MLG executive team to further the company’s position as a mainstream media property and breakout sport of the future.

The collaboration will accelerate MLG’s growth, drive appointment viewing and further strengthen Relativity’s presence in the gaming space through MLG’s deep engagement with the elusive young male audience. The two companies will work together in a variety of ways including:

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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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National Geographic Greenlights Relativity’s ‘Act Of Valor’ As First Scripted Series

By | Sunday October 6, 2013 @ 10:15am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: National Geographic Channel is entering the scripted series arena with Act Of Valor, a drama from Relativity and Tandem Communications inspired by Relativity’s successful 2012 Navy SEAL feature. The project, which also marks Relativity’s first scripted series, will begin production in early 2014. Written by Erik Jendresen (Band Of Brothers), Act Of Valor the series focuses on pararescuemen, also known as PJs, who are the unsung heroes tasked with recovery and medical treatment of personnel in humanitarian and combat environments. Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh is expected to address the project in his MIPCOM Media Mastermind Keynote in Cannes on Tuesday. “Relativity’s unique model allows us to successfully transform a film such as Act Of Valor into a highly engaging television series,” he said. “We could not ask for a better home for the series than National Geographic Channel.” This marks the second Relativity movie to spawn a series, following the 2010 documentary Catfish, which led to MTV’s successful reality series of the same name. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Out Of The Furnace’

By | Friday October 4, 2013 @ 12:14pm PDT

Christian Bale stars as a Rust Belt ex-con out for justice when his brother is drawn into a ruthless crime gang in Out Of The Furnace, from Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper. Relativity has set the awards season drama for wide release on December 6 and … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Free Birds’

By | Thursday September 26, 2013 @ 2:52pm PDT

Relativity is ramping up toward the November 1 release of Free Birds, which tells the tale of two turkeys from opposite sides of the tracks who team to get turkey off the Thanksgiving menu for good. Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson and Amy Poehler lead the voice cast. Jimmy … Read More »

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Relativity Bolsters Middle East Distribution With Gulf Film Tie-Up & New Venture

By | Tuesday September 24, 2013 @ 2:47pm PDT
Mike Fleming

(Beverly Hills, Calif. and Dubai, United Arab Emirates) September 24, 2013 – Relativity today announced that the company has formed Relativity Middle East, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Relativity Media. The new venture will be headquartered in the region and be a turnkey content supplier for all forms of content in the region. In addition, the company will partner with Middle East-based producers to create original film, television and digitial entertainment content. At the same time, the studio has entered into a Middle East distribution partnership with Gulf Film, LLC, the leading film distributor and exhibitor in the region, accounting for over 50% of the Middle East’s film releases. As part of the multi-year agreement, Gulf Film will distribute Relativity’s films across all media in the territory including Relativity produced and acquired titles and third party, sales agency titles handled by Relativity International.

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