After months of fighting in the courts over the fate of the Gerard Butler thriller, Ryan Kavanaugh and the Fast & Furious producer today have come to a deal – with a little help from their friends. Relativity, Neal Moritz and Toby Jaffe’s Original Films and Millennium Films are going to produce and distribute Hunter Killer. On the day of another hearing in Relativity’s Chapter 11 case and one where Moritz’s side were to be pushing for a deposition of Kavanaugh, this is the first film deal the now trimmed company has made publicly in its reorganization.
“I’m very happy that we have resolved the misunderstanding between the parties,” said Moritz Thursday. “I especially want to thank Ryan Kavanaugh for finding a solution that brings Hunter Killer back to life. I’m looking forward to working with him and everyone at Relativity Studios to make a great film, and I am sorry we had a miscommunication.”
Miscommunication is putting it mildly as Moritz’s side recently called Relativity a “failure,” a “scam” as well as staining its reorg as a lead up to liquidation. Back in September their lawyers said, in an effort to wrestle back all the rights to Hunter Killer, that any agreements with Relativity over the film were D.O.A. Moritz and others claimed that this was the case because they had been “misled” on Relativity’s true financial situation – something Kavanugh’s crew strongly countered.
But Hollywood is always about that next deal and they struck one here. Production is set to start on the movie based on the novel Firing Point by George Wallace and Donald Keith in the spring of 2016, which is just about the deadline that Moritz’s side said previously in court filings could see them lose Butler and hence the ability to make the picture. As well as Millennium joining as co-financer of the film, which Relativity has said it has already put $7 million into, and international distributer, Butler and partner Alan Siegel’s G-Base company will also serve as producers on Hunter Killer.
And everybody is putting on a happy face as the legal issues move off the table.
“Hunter Killer is going to be a terrific movie, and I’m pleased that we were able to reach an agreement to bring the film to audiences,” said Kavanaugh in a statement. Relativity will handle domestic distribution for the film under this new agreement, clearly worked out in the late hours of Veteran’s Day. “Gerry is a close friend and this is yet another step forward for Relativity in its new iteration.” Butler previously appeared in the less than box office magic of 2011’s Machine Gun Preacher for Relativity.
“We’re thrilled to be joining forces for the first time with Ryan, Neal, Toby and their teams at Relativity Studios and Original on a script that we love,” added Mark Gill, President of Millennium Films. “And we’re thrilled to be back in business with our longtime friends Gerry Butler and Alan Siegel, with whom we have had tremendous success over the years.”
Butler, of course, was in Millennium’s action hit Olympus Has Fallen in 2013 and is in the sequel London Has Fallen, which is coming out in 2016