Former Universal Pictures co-chairman David Linde has formalized a funding arrangement with Reliance Entertainment and set Tory Metzger to be head of production for his new company, both of which Deadline told you would happen months ago. I still expect the company to be called Lava Bear when all is said and done, but as of now it’s unnamed. Linde has also named Adam Rymer COO. He intends to make one to three movies a year for the next four years. Here’s the release that makes the whole thing official:
Los Angeles, CA – May 24, 2011 – David Linde and Reliance Entertainment jointly announced today the official formation and funding of Linde’s new company, a new platform for film production and financing. Reliance Entertainment is providing the capital to finance the yet unnamed new venture. Working from a global distribution structure combining studio and independent distribution, the company will both produce and finance projects creating a clear “brand” of films designed for the worldwide marketplace.
For nearly two decades, Linde has proven a unique ability to join a singular vision with the intricacies of the domestic and international film marketplace. The new entity is specifically designed to take advantage of Linde’s experience in successfully bridging studio and independent production and distribution while managing and building both existing and start-up companies.
“Our company is designed in response to a changing world. We have the opportunity to tap into the global industry’s desire for films while at the same time build a business that offers opportunities to our creative partners by harnessing both traditional means of distribution as well as new technologies, platforms and markets,” said Linde. “Reliance has already proven itself a great partner and we look forward to working with them as we enter this new world.”
Linde has simultaneously concluded a production and distribution agreement for the new company with Universal Pictures, whereby Universal will have the first option to co-finance each developed project and distribute the films in the United States and other significant international territories. For films that Universal does not distribute domestically, Linde will produce and distribute such films with other motion picture studios.
“Over the years David has proven himself as an adept builder of content-based companies and Universal has been a beneficiary,” said Universal Chairman Adam Fogelson and Co-Chairman Donna Langley. “We look forward to being part of his new venture.”
Added Linde, “Universal gave me the time, money and space to form a plan that we all believe in and can execute on. Their contribution has been significant and very much appreciated.”
Outside of the Studio distributed territories, the new company will maintain a network of direct output partnerships in several key territories around the globe, serving to complete its worldwide distribution platform. The company has recently concluded output deals for all its productions with the following companies:
· Entertainment One (eOne) for Canada, the UK and Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg)
· Italia Films for the Middle East, Greece and Turkey
· Nordisk Film for the Nordic Countries (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland)
· Revolutionary Releasing for Eastern Europe (excluding Russia)
· Sun Distribution for Latin America
· Tele München Group (Germany, Austria along with certain rights in Switzerland, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein)
“I’ve had the great fortune of distributing films through each of these companies, and have known their principals for many years,” noted Linde. “Each is not only the market leader in their countries, but also a tremendous advocate for filmmakers and audiences alike.”
Reliance will handle distribution of the films in India.
Joining Linde in the senior management will be Tory Metzger as President of Production and Adam Rymer as the company’s Chief Operating Officer.
“Adam and Tory bring incredibly complementary skill sets to the company” added Linde. “Allowing us to not only support our creative partners with experience and taste but also with a clear vision for the best and most complete presentation of each film.”
In his role as COO, Rymer will oversee all financial operations and day-to-day business matters of the company. Rymer was most recently SVP of Digital Platforms at Universal Pictures overseeing mobile, gaming, digital cinema, digital distribution and new technology initiatives for the studio. He also served the studio as VP of Business Development and Strategic Planning where he was closely involved in film finance opportunities and M&A activities. Prior to his career in film, he worked in the digital and strategy units of Universal Music Group and as an Associate for LEK Consulting. He holds an A.B. in Applied Mathematics and Economics from Harvard College and an M.B.A. in Finance from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
As President of Production Tory Metzger will oversee creative elements of all projects financed and developed by the production entity. Prior to joining Linde, she most recently served as President of MRC film group where she supervised the company’s film slate including THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU and 30 MINUTES OR LESS as well as projects from Robert Rodriguez, Ricky Gervais, Cameron Diaz, Sacha Baron Cohen, Walter Salles and Bennett Miller. Metzger was with the Creative Artists Agency for nearly 17 years, where she worked with artists including Tom Cruise, Ang Lee, Cameron Crowe, Peter Hedges, Robert Benton, Betty Thomas, Spike Jonze, Callie Khouri, Edgar Wright, Richard Lagravenese and John Wells.
Alan J. Levine and Josh Small of Canon Media Partners structured the company’s business plan, arranged for the equity capital, and provided financial and strategic advice to both Linde and Reliance. Levine will join Linde and Reliance Entertainment’s Amitabh Jhunjhunwala on the new company’s Board.
Linde was represented by attorneys Harold Brown, Thomas Camp and Ken Garrett of Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown and Reliance by Stephen Scharf and Jordan Lichtman of O’Melveny and Myers. David Boyle provided additional legal services for Linde in negotiating the international distribution output deals.