Warren Beatty’s Untitled Howard Hughes Pic Finally Takes Flight Financed By Billionaire Boys’ Club; Ehrenreich, Collins To Star In Love Story; Bening And Broderick Also In

Warren-BeattyjpgEXCLUSIVE: It took two decades, but it’s finally getting off the ground thanks to billionaires Ron Burkle and Steve Bing, Windsor Media’s Terry Semel, Arnon Milchan’s New Regency and James Packer’s and Brett Ratner’s RatPac Entertainment. The heavies have come together to finance Warren Beatty’s long-gestating Howard Hughes-based project. The roughly $26.7M production, which Beatty will direct and star in as Hughes, will revolve around Hughes’ assistant (Alden Ehrenreich, Beautiful Creatures) and his love interest (Lily Collins, Mirror, Mirror). New Regency, Beatty and Ratner are producing, with Packer executive producing. Regency will handle foreign through Fox. Bing, BurkleThey’ve already shot a small amount of film on the picture, but it starts rolling in earnest today. Beatty’s wife Annette Bening and Matthew Broderick and other surprises are expected (a la Jack Nicholson, maybe? One can only hope). The focus of the film is the love story of the two younger characters. Read More »

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WME Partner Ken Slotnick Departs To Start Management/Production Company Backed By Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Companies

By and | Monday December 30, 2013 @ 11:33am PST

slotnickEXCLUSIVE: Financier Ron Burkle‘s global investment firm The Yucaipa Companies is expanding its entertainment portfolio with another move in the representation area. WME partner Ken Slotnick is leaving the agency to start a management/production company backed by Yucaipa. It is the second major move by Yucaipa in the last couple of weeks, following the launch of UK-based production company SID Gentle Films, headed by Sally Woodward Gentle, which will be focused on scripted drama, TV movies and miniseries as well as indie features. Based in New York, Slotnick was part of WME’s branded lifestyle group and worked in the non-scripted area, with The Talk/Big Brother host Julie Chen among his clients. He came from the William Morris side where he was an agent for a decade before the 2009 merger with Endeavor and was named a WME partner in January 2012.

Burkle has been ramping up his entertainment portfolio, recently joining with former top Conde Nast and Prometheus Global Media executive Richard Beckman to start New York-based Three Lions Entertainment. Two years ago, the supermarket mogul and philanthropic businessman bought most of Elliot Capitol Management’s stake in Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity Media for what is believed to have been $800M. He also helped to launch Current TV started by former VP Al Gore, and also financed movies for Harvey and Bob Weinstein. Last year, Burkle bought one of the leading live entertainment agencies, Artist Group International, which books musicians, comedians and sporting events around the globe, and Yucaipa and Relativity Media launched Relativity Sports to represent athletes, coaches and broadcasters. Read More »

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Carnival’s Sally Woodward Gentle Launches Yucaipa-Backed UK Production Company

By | Thursday December 5, 2013 @ 2:22am PST

SWG SID FILMS - ColourSally Woodward Gentle was most recently creative director at Downton Abbey producer Carnival Films. Now striking out on her own, the exec has launched production company SID Gentle Films with financial … Read More »

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Ron Burkle Talks Ryan Kavanaugh And Harvey Weinstein To The New Yorker

Ron Burkle remains a mystery to Hollywood. The supermarket tycoon turned private equity funds manager has sat down with The New Yorker‘s Connie Bruck for a not-very-flattering long profile. It makes clear he has no over-arching strategy for his entertainment investments at present … Read More »

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Ron Burkle Investing In Duncan Heath’s London Talent Agency: But Why?

By | Wednesday February 8, 2012 @ 11:31am PST

UPDATE: Duncan Heath responds to what I wrote: “So I guess you don’t like me. That’s OK. On a personal level, one probably has to bite the bullet — that’s just life. But I cannot keep quiet when it involves Independent Talent and its finances. The company did … Read More »

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It’s Official: Ron Burkle Acquires “Significant” Equity Stake in Relativity

By | Monday January 23, 2012 @ 1:37pm PST

Report: Ron Burkle Buying Relativity Stake From Elliott Management
Ex-Relativity Media President Michael Joe Leaves Elliott

(West Hollywood, California) January 23, 2012 – Yucaipa Companies, a premier investment firm owned and run by Ron Burkle, today announced that it has purchased a significant equity stake in Relativity Media, a full-fledged film distribution company, television production company, sports agency, Internet and interactive media company. Yucapia’s equity investment follows the successful close of debt financings led by Colbeck Capital, a strategic lender run by Jason Colodne and Jason Beckman, and funded by Burkle.

This investment comes on the heels of the studio’s first year as a full-fledged distribution company. During the past 12 months, the studio has had unprecedented success with two number one opening films; marking Relativity as the only mini-major to achieve such a milestone. It is one of the few mini-majors to have had two films exceed 30 million dollars in domestic box office in their opening weekend.

Over the past year the studio has enjoyed the success of films such as Limitless, The Fighter and most recently Immortals, which has just broken $230 million in worldwide box office receipts, the highest R-rated action opening weekend in 2011, and the third highest opening weekend for 2011 R-rated films.

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Bloomberg: Ron Burkle Buying Relativity Media Stake From Elliott Management

Burkle’s Yucaipa Buys Music Booking Power Artist Group International
Ex-Relativity Media President Michael Joe Leaves Elliott

Bloomberg is reporting that billionaire Ron Burkle has agreed to buy Elliott Management Corp’s minority stake in Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity Media, citing two people with knowledge of the … Read More »

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Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Buys Music Booking Power Artist Group International

By | Thursday January 5, 2012 @ 6:58am PST

The billionaire investment banker shows a growing interest in the music biz: He just picked up one of the industry’s top concert-booking firms with clients including Billy Joel, Metallica, and Rod Stewart. “The live experience cannot be digitized or replicated and thrives in the face of the profound changes that have affected other facets of the music business,” says Rick Stevens, who runs Burkle’s Y Entertainment Group. No details on how much Burkle paid for Artist Group International – which will continue to be run by Dennis Arfa, who founded the company 25 years ago. But it’s always worth following the banker’s moves: He’s a member of the Yahoo board and a major investor in Alliance Entertainment and Barnes & Noble. Here’s the release: Read More »

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Cannes: Weinstein Company Acquires Rights To ‘The Iron Lady,’ With Meryl Streep As Margaret Thatcher

By | Friday May 13, 2011 @ 3:36am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Another day on the Croisette brings another major distribution deal. After an all-night auction, The Weinstein Company emerged with U.S. distribution rights to The Iron Lady, the Pathe pic that stars Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher. I’m told the … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Our Idiot Brother’

Mike Fleming

The Weinstein Company has released a new trailer on Our Idiot Brother, the picture that Harvey Weinstein acquired at Sundance in a vigorous bidding battle. TWC teamed with Ron Burkle to pay between $6 million-$7 million, and a P&A commitment of $15 million in one of the bigger deals of … Read More »

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Sundance 2011: Does 38 Film Deals Mean That The Indie Biz Is Back?

Mike Fleming

Dealmakers who came into Park City hoping to recapture the acquisitions momentum of last fall’s Toronto Film Festival returned this week with smiles on their faces. And why not? By my count, 38 transactions have been completed on Sundance films … Read More »

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Sundance: Update; Weinstein Co. Closes ‘The Details’ For $7.5 Million, $10 Million P&A

Mike Fleming

UPDATE: The Weinstein Company indeed closed this deal, and here are the details. I’m told the minimum guarantee was $7.5 million, with a P&A commitment upwards of $10 million. That makes The Details the largest minimum guarantee of … Read More »

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Variety Editor Out After Less Than A Year

By | Monday November 1, 2010 @ 5:11pm PDT

Leo Wolinsky was brought in after several rounds of layoffs at the trade, and now he was pushed out after less than a year in the job. Before coming to VarietyWolinsky had spent many years in senior level … Read More »

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Judge Dismisses Burkle Suit Against Ovitz

By | Friday March 28, 2008 @ 9:56am PDT

While Michael Ovitz’s name keeps coming up repeatedly in the ongoing Pellicano trial (though he’s charged with no wrongdoing), he’s also been the subject of an ongoing multimillion dollar lawsuit brought by his one-time Internet partner, billionaire investor Ron Burkle. But yesterday Ovitz scored a big victory when that lawsuit by … Read More »

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