Netflix Questions Whether Kevin Spacey's Relativity Role Is a Done Deal

The streaming giant wants to know who will be running the show at the Ryan Kavanaugh studio.
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Dana Brunetti, Kevin Spacey

Netflix isn't 100 percent sure that one of its own stars — House of Cards actor Kevin Spacey — has really been tapped to run the film department for Relativity. What's more, they call the lack of clarity about his role to be "particularly troubling."

In an objection made Thursday to a plan of reorganization for Relativity, Netflix addresses an issue that has been on the minds of others in Hollywood: Who really will have authority at the Ryan Kavanaugh studio?

Netflix points to word that Kavanaugh and hedge-fund magnate Joseph Nicholas will be on the management board. The streaming giant says more "meaningful insight" is needed about day-to-day responsibility for films.

"The management questions are compounded by reports that Relativity has entered into agreements with Spacey and [Dana] Brunetti to manage its operations, in connection with a transaction with Trigger Street Productions," states Netflix's court papers. "Relativity’s Jan. 6, 2016, press release specifically states that Mr. Spacey will be Chairman and that Mr. Brunetti will be President of Relativity. This creates considerable confusion in light of the subsequent statements in the Plan Supplement indicating that Mr. Kavanaugh and Mr. Nicholas will be co-managers of the Reorganized Debtor."

Netflix wants to know who will be running the show given that it is paying hundreds of millions of dollars to license Relativity films. The objector says it doesn't have assurance that if Relativity emerges from bankruptcy, the studio can meet commitments to deliver a minimum number of films to Netflix and ensure exclusivity.

Addressing the management issue, Netflix adds, "This is particularly troubling given that the Debtors have not filed anything with the Court amending or supplementing the Plan to address the transactions with Trigger Street or Spacey and Brunetti, or otherwise disclosing any such transactions. This leaves it unclear whether the transactions with Trigger Street, Mr. Spacey, and Mr. Brunetti have even been finalized, despite the Debtor reporting them as a done deal."

Netflix's objection is just one of many filed on Thursday. 

A Relativity spokesperson responded: “In 2012, Relativity signed a distribution deal with Netflix whose terms were by far the most favorable of any studio. This objection is nothing more than a blatant attempt by Netflix to use the Chapter 11 process to once again renegotiate the agreement, which does not expire until 2018."

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