Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity Media is in negotiations to acquire the genre label Rogue Pictures from Universal. Here’s what Relativity would get: Rogue’s 2009 slate which consists of four films (Last House On The Left, The Unborn, Come Out Fighting, and 25/8), plus its development projects, plus the 13-film library (including Assault On Precinct 13 and The Strangers), plus the name. Universal would still market and distribute Rogue’s 4 pics during 2009 and future films for 12.5% for theatrical and DVD and non-pay tv, and 15% for pay tv. (I’m told this is slightly more than what Universal charges Gold Circle and Morgan Creek for its service deals. It’s about what MGM charges.) As for Rogue Pictures chief Andrew Rona and the company’s 7 employees, their status is being negotiated.
Interestingly, the rumor going around was that Rogue Pictures might be shut down. But Uni insiders say that’s not true and claim the company has been profitable. Nevetheless, one of my film financing sources tells me, “I can’t imagine that the purchase price is considerable. Rogue is just a label at Universal. It doesn’t have a distribution infrastructure. Its executives are fungible. And it has no library of note.”
Rogue was initially launched under Focus in 2004, and then placed under Universal as an independent specialty unit in 2007. Last month, Universal and Relativity extended their financing deal through 2015. On Friday, NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker ordered all divisions to cut staffing and spending by $500 million next year.