Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity Media is set to emerge from its financial woes with a bang, acquiring Kevin Spacey’s production house, Trigger Street Productions.
On January 4, Relativity announced a committee of unsecured creditors had formally stated support for Kavanagh’s plan to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, a move that Kavanaugh (right) said would allow the studio to return as a “well-capitalised, strong company”.
This has been followed with an agreement to acquire Trigger Street for an undisclosed amount. As a result, Hollywood star Spacey (left) will become chairman of Relativity Studios, with his business partner, Dana Brunetti, becoming president in mid-February.
Trigger Street is best known as a coproducer of Netflix’s flagship drama House of Cards, but is also credited for movies such as Tom Hanks hostage drama Captain Phillips, Jason Statham vehicle Safe and Facebook flick The Social Network.
“Kevin’s incredible creative success as a two-time Academy Award winner and star and producer of the critically acclaimed House of Cards speaks for itself,” said Kavanaugh, Relativity’s chairman and CEO.
“Dana has remarkable instincts and an impressive track record of producing films such as Fifty Shades of Grey and Captain Phillips. Both men share my passion for film and Relativity’s unique 360 degree content engine, and I could not be more excited to partner with such talented professionals.”
“They thought we were crazy when we chose to do House of Cards with an online streaming service; they thought I was crazy when I went to run The Old Vic Theatre when no one thought it could be saved; and this move with Relativity will be proof for some that we really are crazy,” he said.
“This is an incredible opportunity to make great entertainment. I’m thrilled at this next evolution in my career, having run an independent production company to now be able to run a studio is a great challenge, and I’ve learned that in the end it’s the risk takers that are rewarded.”
It is unclear if Relativity Studios will produce TV content, with press materials only stating it would target “creative content and film production”. The firm is behind CBS high-concept drama Limitless, but its main television arm was sold to a group of investors during the period Relativity was in Chapter 11.
Relativity Television chief Tom Forman and Andrew Marcus is now in charge of the business, which is set to rebrand early this year.
Relativity’s financial woes came to light last year, when its debt pile became unmanageable leading Kavanaugh to file for Chapter 11 protection. A funding deal with Toronto investor Catalyst Capital Group, which is known for swooping on distressed assets, was later mooted, but ultimately did not come to fruition.
A court hearing that could see Relativity’s recapitalisation plan confirmed is set for February 1. “We are excited to move forward with normal day-to-day operations on February 1 and are incredibly grateful to the Creditors’ Committee for their support,” Kavanaugh said earlier this week.