5:48pm PT by Matthew Belloni
Relativity Reveals First Proposed Movie Sale in Bankruptcy: Thriller 'Collide'
Relativity Media has filed court papers seeking to offload the first of its assets in the ongoing bankruptcy process.
The Ryan Kavanaugh-fronted studio wants to sell a Europe-set chase thriller called Collide to IM Global for a $200,000 payment plus contingent compensation of up to $630,000, according to court documents filed Saturday in New York and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. In exchange, IM Global would withdraw its previous objection to the bankruptcy. In the proposed agreement, Open Road Films would be required to provide Relativity with audit statements, suggesting the distributor could end up releasing the film in the U.S. A rep for Open Road declined to comment.
Collide (formerly Autobahn), starring Nicholas Hoult, Felicity Jones, Ben Kingsley and Anthony Hopkins, was set for release Oct. 30 by Relativity but was ensnared in the massive bankruptcy. Relativity had acquired U.S. distribution rights from IM Global in 2014, and now IM Global is seeking to take it back.
The move comes ahead of a hearing Monday in bankruptcy court in New York and after the Friday deadline for bids for the beleaguered company, which filed for bankruptcy July 30 and listed $1.2 billion in liabilities and $560 million in assets.
Interest in Relativity has been soft among potential bidders. Additional bids could emerge at the hearing, but none is expected to exceed the $250,000 "stalking horse" offer made by a group of Relativity's creditors in August. Kavanaugh told THR this summer that he thought the company was worth several billion dollars, but others have pegged the value of the company at less than the stalking horse bid, which could explain the lack of interested bidders.
A paucity of box-office hits in its film library and rights deals that have tied movies to other studios could be the cause of a low valuation. "The bones have already been picked over in some respects," Lloyd Greif, CEO of Los Angeles investment banking firm Greif & Co., told the L.A. Times on Friday. "I don't think there's a whole lot here."
Parts of Relativity could be more alluring for buyers. Its television division, which is behind such hits as MTV's Catfish and the new CBS show Limitless, is said to be attractive to bidders, though it generates less revenue than its film division.
The auction of the company is set for Oct. 1, and a court-ordered schedule calls for the sale to occur before Oct. 20. But an unusually high number of filmmakers and producers have filed objections to the sale, many of them afraid they will lose their investments or control over their films. Kavanaugh suggested to THR in August that he might make a play to buy the company back.