Jeff Robinov's Studio 8 Finalizes Bank Funding (Exclusive)
The new company has secured $1 billion and plans to announce its first film project in the coming weeks
Jeff Robinov's new Studio 8 has finalized its funding, closing a debt facility with JPMorgan Chase, Union Bank, CIT, OneWest Bank and Bank of America.
A spokesman for Studio 8 confirms that the facility, which closed Oct. 3, rounds out $1 billion for Studio 8, including previously announced backing from Chinese conglomerate Fosun Group and Sony Pictures Entertainment. Fosun is said to be investing about $200 million, with an additional $50 million coming from Sony, which has a five-year deal to release Robinov's movies.
With the Fosun money, Studio 8 has attracted what is believed to be the largest Chinese investment to date in U.S. film production. Even after a Sept. 23 press briefing, in which Fosun chairman Guo Guangchang publicly expressed his company's support for Robinov’s company, some in the industry wondered whether the money would really come through. Other Hollywood executives have believed they had backing from a Chinese company only to come away disappointed. Agent Jeff Berg's new talent agency, Resolution, just collapsed when money expected from a Chinese investor failed to materialize. Those doubts have been laid to rest with respect to Robinov's company.
Robinov, who left his position running the Warner Bros. film studio in June 2013, went through a months-long quest for financing that included a deal with Huayi Brothers that unraveled.
He is a few weeks away from announcing his first project. Generally, Robinov has said he is looking to make the type of broadly commercial and "visually unique" films he made at Warner Bros., which included Ben Affleck's Argo and Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity.
Robinov has said he hopes to build to six movies a year with budgets from $45 million to north of $100 million. Anticipating a staff of about 15, his company will have green-light authority but will rely on Sony for marketing and distribution. He is looking "opportunistically" for projects that could be Chinese co-productions or otherwise "take advantage of Fosun's relationships in China."