Relativity Media is an American media company headquartered in Beverly Hills, California, founded in 2004 by Lynwood Spinks and Ryan Kavanaugh. The studio was the third largest mini-major globally until bankruptcy on July 30, 2015. Its full-scale film studio acquires, develops, produces and distributes films. The company's partners and financial institutions have invested $20 billion as of 2012 in entertainment investments with partners such as Citibank, Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank and others. Relativity Media also works in fashion, sports, digital and music.
|Type||Limited liability company|
|Founded||May 18, 2004|
Number of employees
|Approximately 350 (2013)|
On July 30, 2015, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York after lawsuits and missing loan payments. As a result, The company began selling off previously acquired films including Suffragette, Jane Got a Gun, The Bronze, Love the Coopers, The Space Between Us, The Foreigner, Solace, Collide, Kidnap, Before I Wake, Animal Crackers, Shot Caller and The Secret Scripture. Suffragette was sold to Focus Features and as a result Ryan dropped out producing the film due to financial struggles with his company, Jane Got a Gun was sold to TWC, The Bronze was sold to both Sony Pictures Classics and Stage 6 Films, Love the Coopers was sold to CBS Films, The Space Between Us and The Foreigner were both sold to STX Entertainment, Solace was sold to Lionsgate Premiere, Collide was sold to Open Road Films, Kidnap was sold to Aviron Pictures, Before I Wake and Animal Crackers were both sold to Netflix, Shot Caller was sold to Saban Films and The Secret Scripture was sold to Vertical Entertainment and transferred its distribution rights of EuropaCorp to STX Entertainment in 2017. The company emerged from the bankruptcy in March 2016, but in May 2018 it filed for bankruptcy once again. The studio remains open for business and is now being operated by its new parent company UltraV Holdings.
The studio was founded by Ryan Kavanaugh and Lynwood Spinks in 2004 as a middleman company arranging multi-film slate deals with studios then arranging financial support through banks. Relativity Media would receive film equity, producer's credit and a fee. Initially, Stark Investments, a Wisconsin-based hedge fund, funded the company's single-picture business. By 2007, these investors stopped making movie-finance deals. Elliott Management, a $16 billion New York–based hedge fund run by Paul Singer, then took a minority share of the company plus access to around $1 billion in capital and a revolving credit line.
On January 4, 2009, the studio acquired the genre label Rogue from Universal, for $150 million. Relativity oversaw Rogue's 2009 film offerings, which consisted of Last House On The Left, The Unborn, Come Out Fighting, and My Soul to Take, as well as more than 30 projects in development. The deal also included the Rogue film library, featuring such films as Assault On Precinct 13 and The Strangers. On the same year, the Studio made a deal with Lionsgate under which they released Brothers, Season of the Witch and The Spy Next Door.
In 2010, Relativity Media ventured into India with the help of Asian billionaire Keyur Patel who also owns two major TV Networks and has major investments in India in satellite, theatre chain and media productions.
On July 23, 2010, Relativity acquired the 45-person marketing and distribution staff of Starz' Overture Films, making it a "Mini-Major". The studio distributed its first film on December 3, 2010. The Warrior's Way was directed by Sngmoo Lee and starring Jang Dong-gun, Geoffrey Rush and Kate Bosworth. On May 20, 2012, it was reported that Relativity and EuropaCorp signed a co-production and co-financing deal on two movies and Relativity will distribute in U.S. Relativity also has co-production deals with Atlas Entertainment including Project.
In September 2011, Robbie Brenner was promoted from Executive Vice President, Production to President, Production.
On August 14, 2011, it was reported that Relativity was investing in SkyLand Film & Television Cultural Development Ltd, a China-based production company, signaling new opportunities in the Chinese market. One of the first arrangements was that the movie 21 and Over was partially filmed in Dongshigu, China. On May 18, 2012, it was reported that Relativity was in talks to buy German producer-distributor Senator Entertainment.
On January 23, 2012, Burkle purchased a large equity stake in Relativity Media from Elliot Capital Management (which was the second largest shareholder after Ryan Kavanaugh) for at least $800 million. On May 31, 2012 Relativity and Ron Burkle announced they raised $350 million in funding for films and expansion. Ron Burkle will also join the board of Relativity, along with Jason Colodne and Jason Beckman who are partners at Colbeck Capital.
In July 2012, Relativity merged its Rogue Sports, a basketball agency with Maximum Sports Management, a football agency, and SFX Baseball into Relativity Sports. On December 19, Relativity announced a new division, Relativity International.
In April 2013, Relativity partnered with Glenn Kalison to create a start-up film and performing arts school that sought to revive the tradition of a working studio and a school operating in sync. Today the school is called Studio School Los Angeles and Variety has listed it in its Entertainment Education Report as a Best Film School for 2019.
On January 6, 2016, Relativity Media acquired Trigger Street Productions. Owners Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti were given the roles chairman and president of Relativity Studios, respectively. That March, Spacey announced that he would not accept Relativity's offer; Brunetti's position is still in place.
On January 26, 2016, Relativity Television, Relativity Media's television division, became an independent company named Critical Content after the post-bankruptcy.
On September 8, 2016, it launched R2 Entertainment which will be based in Canada and is now an independent film distributor focused on releasing films with budgets under $15 million. It will be co-headed by Mark Kassen and Dana Brunetti.
On October 28, 2016, Kavanaugh announced that he was selling Relativity to Singapore-based social networking platform YuuZoo for $250 million. Other companies have attempted to bid, including Chinese technology company Lenovo. On March 2, 2017, YuuZoo announced they were canceling the investment in the fledgling studio saying "conditions precedent to the investment had not been met".
In May 2018 the company filed for bankruptcy once again and arranged to sell all of its assets.
In June 2018, an arbitration case found that executives from Relativity Media, including Kavanaugh, had fabricated a memo alleging sexual harassment by a former co-president of the company. A forensic audit of Relativity Media found that the memo had been altered by a user named "kav kav". Kavanaugh stated that the finding was "patently false" and filed a counterclaim alleging a violation of the arbitration process.
In August 2018, the US Bankruptcy court approved the sale of the company to Ultra V Holdings.
In June 2019, Variety reported that Kavanaugh was accused by his ex-partner of running a Ponzi scheme. Kavanaugh denied the allegations and filed a counterclaim alleging breach of contract. The parties later released a statement announcing that the issues were resolved out of court.
Ultra V Holdings, through Relativity Media, acquired U.S. distribution rights to Come Away in October 2020 with a November 2020 release on PVOD and in theatres.
Relativity Media has seven divisions: Relativity Studios, Relativity Media Home Entertainment, Relativity International, Relativity Sports, Relativity Digital Studios, Relativity Music and Relativity Education. It also has four subsidiaries: Rogue, Trigger Street Productions, Madvine and R2 Entertainment, and one joint venture, R.E.D. (Relativity.EuropaCorp.Distribution).
Relativity's film production division was its first and remains its largest division. Relativity Studios has produced, distributed or structured financing for nearly 200 motion pictures, generating more than $17 billion in worldwide box-office revenue and earning 60 Academy Awards nominations.
Relativity Media Home EntertainmentEdit
Relativity Media Home Entertainment offers access to Relativity titles across all major digital download, video-on-demand and DVD/Blu-ray platforms. In addition to the studio's theatrical films, the division also releases select titles from Relativity's partner companies.
Relativity Media InternationalEdit
Relativity Media International oversees global sales and distribution management of both the studio's own films as well as third-party releases. To date, its pictures have grossed approximately $1 billion at foreign box offices.
Relativity Sports is one of the largest professional sports agencies in the world, providing more than 300 NBA, NFL and MLB athletes with services ranging from contract negotiation to custom film and television content production. Relativity Sports and its agents have negotiated contracts totaling in excess of $2.5 billion.
Relativity Digital StudiosEdit
Relativity Digital Studios is a production and graphics team that produces, directs and edits web series and creates special effects. In addition, the division creates with internet personalities campaigns in support of Relativity films and develops branded entertainment campaigns that marry brand partners with relevant Relativity divisions.
Relativity Music GroupEdit
Relativity Music provides in-house music supervision for films, in addition to releasing soundtracks and score albums from both major and studios and TV networks.
Relativity Education offers an array of film, media and performing arts programs, ranging from long-term programs to summer workshops.
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