Relativity Bankruptcy: The Fallout for Its Movies
While a few films — like 'Masterminds' and 'Kidnap' — remain on the release schedule, many other projets are in flux.
Relativity, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today, may be shedding films. But with an auction now pending, lenders have a vested interest in seeing the company remain in the film business. And to do that, a restructured Relativity will need to keep some product in the pipeline.
With the company’s future very much in flux, Relatively remains committed to the release of at least two films, Masterminds and Kidnap, and hopes to start production on a third, The Crow, this fall, according to one insider.
Masterminds, the heist comedy starring Zach Galifianakis and Owen Wilson, is currently slated for release on Oct. 9, while the Halle Berry-starrer Kidnap, which was originally to have hit theaters in October, was recently postponed to February 26, 2016.
"The rest of the slate is up in the air," the insider says, adding, however, that the company is still "identifying properties they will want to produce."
One big unknown is how the rich output deal that Relativity struck with Netflix in 2010 will be affected. Although financial details weren’t disclosed at the time the deal was announced, the terms depended on how many films Relativity ultimately delivered and how they fared at the box office. While the deal is considered one of Relativity’s more important assets, it also could be threatened by the bankruptcy, according to one source with knowledge of the deal.
Over the past several days, as the bankruptcy filing loomed, several movies have bolted. Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions terminated Relativity’s domestic distribution deal for The Bronze, the Sundance hit from Duplass Brothers Productions about a foul-mouthed gymnast played by Melissa Rauch — it’s possible that Sony Pictures Classics will step in to pick up the film. Relativity has given the rights to Jane Got a Gun, the troubled Western starring Natalie Portman, back to its filmmakers. And another project, which has not yet begun filming, Out of This World, a teen romance movie starring Asa Butterfield as a guy raised on Mars, has moved to STX Entertainment.
Relativity also has given back rights The Tribes of Palos Verdes, the YA adaptation starring Jennifer Garner and Tye Sheridan, which had been developed under Relativity’s specialty division label, R2, to that movie’s producers. But it has retained the right to come back in and distribute the movie in the U.S. Likewise, it probably will give back the Christian music documentary Hillsong: Let Hope Rise. And the crime drama Den of Thieves, which has Gerard Butler attached, also could walk out the door.
Now that Relativity has filed Chapter 11, there are several high-profile titles in flux. Autobahn, now titled Collide, the action-thriller starring Felicity Jones, Nicholas Hoult and Anthony Hopkins, which had been penciled in an Oct. 30 release, is among that group. "If it stays at Relativity, it’s a disaster," says one person involved with the film. However, other parties involved in the production would still like to see it remain at Relativity.
Another completed title whose future is up in the air is mystery thriller Solace, starring Hopkins and Colin Farrell.
For the moment, Relativity also wants to hang on to Hunter Killer, an in-house production starring Butler that has yet to start shooting, as well as the Kate Beckinsale-starrer The Disappointments Room, which is set for a Sept. 25 opening, but which will likely see its release postponed.
The fate of the Fletch reboot is also a question mark. Relativity owns 50 percent of the movie, and insiders insist it is staying put, although the deal requires the film to start pre-production by the end of the year. According to one source, however, the rights to the remake were returned to the filmmakers at the same time that Jane Got a Gun was released; the films share a producer, the Boies/Schiller Film Group. And a source close to the production says Fletch "is moving forward with its development without Relativity."
Red, EuropaCorp's joint distribution venture with Relativity, is not part of the bankruptcy. And so EuropaCorp’s upcoming release schedule — which includes The Transporter Refueled (Sept. 4), Shut In (Feb. 19) and The Lake (July 15, 2016) — remains unaffected.
—Borys Kit contributed to this report