Updated with more details: Aviron Pictures Chairman and Founder William Sadleir has been replaced as the operating manager of Aviron Pictures, a subsidiary of Aviron Group, a company which he still presides over and is the founder of.
Apparently, Sadleir was pushed out of the division due to a contractual provision given to Aviron’s senior lender, BlackRock according to Variety who broke the news.
Sadleir’s exit from the position follows a contentious lawsuit that was filed in the Supreme Court of New York on Dec. 17. alleging impropriety in the company structure [You can read it HERE] .
Sadleir reached out to Deadline that he remains in charge of Aviron Group.
Separately, we heard murmurs on Friday night that BlackRock is in the process of evaluating its position in independent film companies like Aviron; that the asset manager is looking into possibly increasing its financing in entertainment mergers and acquisitions.
Deadline first broke the news about the launch of Aviron back in May 2017. Out of the gate, they started off quite well with the rescue of Halle Berry suspense feature Kidnap from Relativity. The movie opened to $10M and made close to $31M at the domestic box office in August of that year. Aviron also had the sequel to the Rogue Pictures movie, The Strangers: Prey at Night which off a $5M production cost made close to $25M.
Eventually, the theatrical distribution business got hard for Aviron. A year ago, Deadline was the first to report that CAA reps for Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway were upset with Aviron after the distributor decreased its P&A for the duo’s film Serenity. This is after Aviron agreed to put up enough marketing cash for a 2,500 wide theatrical release. The pic died fast with a $4.4M opening and $8.5M at the domestic B.O. Aviron issued a statement that after testing the film with audiences and critics, they had to adjust their marketing spend on the Steven Knight-directed film.
Those close to the production of After, the feature adaptation of the Anna Todd YA novel, were also upset with Aviron’s handling of the film stateside last spring after it fizzled stateside with $12.1M, despite raking in an overseas gross of $57.4M given the source material’s popularity.
After Productions sued Aviron claiming that the distributor failed to market the movie stateside after foreign distributors made the project work. The production company also claimed that they weren’t paid the remaining balance on their $3.15 minimum guarantee.
When reached by Deadline, Aviron provided no comment.