Relativity Media is an independent entertainment studio headquartered in California. Founded by Lynwood Spinks and Ryan Kavanaugh in 2004, the studio filed for bankruptcy on July 30, 2015.
The studio started as a middleman company. They arranged multi-film slate deals with other studios. They also arranged financial support through banks. Relativity Media received film equity, producer’s credit, and a fee. Stark Investments funded the company’s single-picture business. It was a Wisconsin-based hedge fund. These investors stopped making movie-finance deals in 2007. Elliott Management then took a minority share of Relativity Media. Paul Singer runs this $16-billion New York-based hedge fund. EM also got access to around a billion dollars in capital and a revolving credit line.
The studio acquired the genre label Rogue from Universal in 2009 for $150 million. The deal included the Rogue film library. Rogue’s 2009 film offerings consisted of My Soul to Take, Last House on the Left, The Unborn, and Come Out Fighting. Relativity oversaw these films as well as 30 projects in development. The studio made a deal with Lionsgate in the same year. Films they released include Brothers, Season of the Witch, and The Spy Next Door.
The studio ventured into India in 2010. Asian billionaire Keyur Patel helped Relativity Media in this venture. He owns two major TV networks and has major investments in India. These include satellite, theatre chain, and media productions.
Relativity then worked with Netflix in 2010 and announced a five-year-plus Pay-TV deal. The Fighter and Skyline were the first two films that streamed on Netflix.
Another acquisition happened on July 23, 2010. The studio acquired the 45-person marketing and distribution staff of Starz’ Overture Films. This made the studio a Mini-Major. The Warrior’s Way was the first film it distributed on December 3, 2010. It starred Jang Dong-gun, Kate Bosworth, and Geoffrey Rush. Relativity Media and EuropaCorp signed a co-production and co-financing deal in 2012. The studio had co-production deals with Atlas Entertainment. Relativity was also in talks to buy Senator Entertainment in 2012.
Ron Burkle loaned $200 million to Relativity in 2011 for two films. Those were the Immortals and Mirror Mirror. The studio also invested in a China-based production company in the same year.
Ryan Kavanaugh remained the largest shareholder. Burkle bought a large equity stake worth at least $800 million in 2012. It was from Elliott Capital Management, the second-largest shareholder next to Kavanaugh.