Relativity Media said today it has secured $400 million in film financing from Michael Wexler and Tove Christensen’s Maple Leaf Films and that the two companies have executed a binding agreement for Maple Leaf Films to finance 75% of future Relativity Media films on an annual basis for the next five years.
Maple Leaf Films is part of the Maple Leaf Capital Group of companies focusing on hedge funds, real estate, and film finance through their offices in London, Hong Kong, and Los Angeles. Maple Leaf began its involvement in film finance in 2005, as producer and financier providing equity, debt, or both, for small-to-medium-sized independent films. It has, however, not updated its website for several years (like three to four).
“Michael’s a hedge fund guy out of Canada and he is supposed to have a lot of connections,” one source told Deadline. The one film that they did announce in May 2015 and said it was going to start in the fall — a movie called Spectrum — is still in development.
Relativity’s press release quotes an unnamed “spokesperson“ saying the studio is “excited to have the support of Michael and Tove as we continue to identify, develop and produce groundbreaking films. And we very much look forward to the opportunity to work alongside Maple Leaf on future projects. We value their creative perspective and their investment in Relativity.”
Wexler is quoted as saying that he and Christensen’“believe in the leadership and vision” of CEO Ryan Kavanaugh and Dana Brunetti — who is slated to become the studio’s president when it emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
The deal may become important for Relativity’s effort to persuade U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Michael Wiles that it’s ready to operate independently. He has approved the exit plan contingent on Relativity’s demonstration that it has acceptable leadership and financing in place.
Relativity’s 2016 projects in post-production include The Tank for Open Road and Jonathan Mostow’s Hunter’s Prayer starring Sam Worthington and Odeya Rush. January saw the release of Standoff starring Laurence Fishburne. With several projects in development, the focus is on studio output deals and co-financing agreements with budgets of $20M-$60M as well as producing content suitable to foreign markets such as China.