Open Road Films and Riverstone Pictures set a multi-picture production financing pact for all of Open Road Films’ own productions over the coming years. Open Road CEO Tom Ortenberg announced the deal with Riverstone Pictures co-founders Deepak Nayar and Nik Bower. Pact begins with the Jamie Foxx-Michelle Monaghan pic Sleepless Night, which Baran bo Odar directs this summer in Atlanta and Las Vegas. Two to four films a year are expected to go through the deal, with each picture getting a wide domestic release via Open Road while foreign sales are handled by Open Road International and Film Nation.
This gives Ortenberg’s company–launched in 2011 by theater chains AMC and Regal–the opportunity to take the next step, which is to get involved in projects at earlier stages. The company has done well acquiring films to release at festivals. That included the breakout hit Nightcrawler, which Open Road acquired at Cannes in 2014, and the upcoming pic Dope, which Open Road acquired at Sundance. Last month, Open Road’s Ortenberg and Peter Lawson landed the Miles Teller-starrer Bleed For This, in which the Whiplash star plays Vinny Pazienza, a champion fighter who broke his neck in a car accident and came back against the odds.
Riverstone Pictures is a Reliance Entertainment company that is backed by Ingenious Media. Nayar and Bower formed it in 2014 when it came on board to fund the John Logan-scripted drama Genius, which stars Colin Firth, Jude Law, Nicole Kidman and Laura Linney. Lionsgate acquired U.S. distribution rights to that film at Cannes. Riverstone Pictures expects to finance eight to ten productions in the $10m to $50m budget range each year outside its deal with Open Road Films.
“Open Road has quickly established itself as a major player in the domestic distribution market with excellent taste in material and a proven expertise in marketing and releasing their films. It was natural fit as a next step for Riverstone Pictures,” Nayar said. Ortenberg called Riverstone “A company that combines heavyweight financing from major backers with an agile, entrepreneurial approach resonant of our own.”
Ortenberg and Elliott Kleinberg, Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel negotiated for Open Road with Nayar and Bower for Riverstone.