Relativity Pacts With Storyoscopic Films For $200M Production Venture

Ryan Kavanaugh
Associated Press

Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity Studios and Los Angeles-based startup Storyoscopic Films have said to have entered into a $200 million production partnership with. Under the joint venture, it is said that Storyoscopic will produce and finance around five or more projects per year which will be released internationally through Relativity’s output partners, and will get domestic releases through Relativity Europa Distribution.

Relativity launched RED, a joint venture with EuropaCorp, after it acquired Overture Films from John Malone’s Liberty Media in 2010. In 2014, EuropaCorp acquired a 50% stake in the company for a reported $130M.

Storyoscopic’s founders George Lee and Marcus Englefield, the pair behind 2D-to-3D conversion specialists Venture 3D, said they will work with industry veteran Brent Baum to act as a core part of Relativity’s future slate and production team. Under the deal, Storyoscopic says it will bring a significant slate of family branded entertainment and global development titles that resonate both in the U.S. and China.

The deal comes as Kavanaugh’s troubled company looks to shift its core production business to focus on financing, producing and distributing global family-friendly films. Relativity founder Kavanaugh still remains at the helm since it emerged from bankruptcy in April. Since then, the ailing company has struggled to find creditors to help fund future productions. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in July 2015 after it was unable to keep up on payments with multiple loans.

Last month, Relativity sold a big stake of its company to Singapore-listed YuuZoo. The company agreed to buy 33.3% of Relativity’s equity for $50M – including $27.5M in cash and $22.5M in either cash or stock. The deal would give the web company one of the studio’s three board seats and is contingent on its completion of a debt restructuring.

“This is a time of incredible change in our industry and in the surrounding industries,” said a Relativity spokesperson in a statement. “The shifts in advertising, technology and media have caused us to rethink and reanalyze our entire slate and how we do business in general. It is critical that we remain nimble and are able to make pivots like this.”

The Storyscopic partnership will kick off with a slate of films that are expected to start production immediately including David Twohy’s Chinese-U.S. sci-fi co-production Ice Moon Rising: The Loyal Order Of Snowmen, from Open Season and Chicken Little writers Ron J. Friedman and Steve Bencich; and live-action family film currently titled Save the Panda from writer-director Steve Bencich about a socially awkward young boy who tries to stop kidnappers from stealing a panda at the zoo during a class field trip.

Relativity intends to start production on a number of its sequels including November Man 2, Act Of Valor 2, Immortals 2 and Earth To Echo 2.

Storyoscopic and Relativity also have a number of television projects in development including the epic series Holoscape from the creators of Star Trek, Roddenberry Entertainment and in association with Jump Creative.

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