Looks like every major producer that’s worked with Relativity Media has a motion at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to reserve their right to object if they don’t like the outcome of a planned auction. Today’s collection already includes Viacom, HBO, A&E Television, and Brett Ratner’s Rat Entertainment.
Viacom: The entertainment giant says it has more than 100 agreements with Relativity. And although it “generally supports” a sale, it isn’t willing to become partners with just anyone — including a group of creditors known as Stalking Horse Bidders that plan to offer $250 million for the TV and movie assets.
Viacom is “entitled to know which individuals will be employed by Stalking Horse Bidder to conduct the day to day operations of [Relativity],” it says. The company also wants to know the status of several contracts. In “numerous conversations” with Relativity, Viacom says it “has been unable to get satisfactory answers” including “the continuing timely and adequate performances of Viacom’s productions and the timely and satisfactory delivery of the motion pictures.”
Productions it’s concerned about include ones for TV series Catfish, Truce, an untitled project it currently calls Invasion Of Privacy and Outfit To Room. On the movie side, Viacom says it controls The Fighter and The Fighter 2.
Relativity also owes nearly $343,000 for ads it bought on Spike to promote the 2014 film Brick Mansions.
HBO: The premium network owner says it has a single deal with Relativity that involves multiple agreements. It’s unhappy with a so-called Cure Notice that lists the components individually and doesn’t say how much will be paid on the amounts that HBO says it’s owed.
The most important agreement is one to provide HBO with Relativity films for telecast and on-demand showings. As a result “any order approving assignment of that agreement must also provide for the assignee to obtain (or have access to all of) the assets necessary for such performance,” HBO says.
A&E: The network’s case is similar to Viacom’s. It wants an out on agreements with Relativity if it doesn’t like the entity that buys it. A&E identifies eight contracts involving History, Lifetime, Bio and FYI Network.
Their TV projects have “a special, unique, creative and intellectual character, requiring vision, creativity and discretion in order to create the desired ‘look and feel’ of the program concepts and productions,” A&E says in its filing (read it here). That’s why each of its contracts “expressly prohibits the assignment or delegation” to someone else “without having first obtained [A&E’s] prior written consent.”
The network owner “trusts the experience and vision of Relativity’s television development personnel.” But “information provided to date by [Relativity] and the Stalking Horse Bidder with respect to assurance of future performance is woefully inadequate.”
Brett Ratner: He has agreements with Relativity involving movies including Mirror Mirror, Catfish, Skyline and Movie 43.
But with Mirror Mirror, “it is unclear what is actually being sold and how Ratner’s rights will be impacted by such sale,” Ratner says in the motion (read it here). Skyline isn’t among the assets to be sold, but an agreement giving him producer credits and profit participation payments is. Movie 43 isn’t on key lists regarding the sale, leaving Ratner with “insufficient information” about his interests.
He says that a TV series based on Catfish “may be among the most valuable assets” Relativity plans to sell — but it “does not appear among the assets being sold to the Stalking Horse Bidder.” That makes it “unclear what, if anything, relating to Catfish is actually being sold and how Ratner’s rights” will be affected.
And when it comes to Stalking Horse, “there is no business plan, or any indication of experience in the film or television industry. Nor is there any indication that the Stalking Horse Bidder intends to partner with someone with such experience.”