Revolution nabs coin from Chase

Money will cover operating costs, pix through 2006

This article was corrected on April 22, 2003.

Revolution Studios has secured an additional $250 million credit facility from JP Morgan Chase, bringing its total revolving line of credit to $650 million.

Revolution, which is privately held, will use the money to cover operating costs and bankroll the development and production of pics through 2006, when the credit facility is expected to expire.

The Santa Monica-based company was founded in 2000, at which point it raised $400 million in credit from JP Morgan Chase. New facility had been anticipated for months, but was delayed due to the tough economic climate.

The credit bump is being attributed to the success and profitability of Revolution (which released 11 pics in its first two years of operation) as well as the strength of its future slate.

Revolution is launching nine pics in 2003. That means it will end up releasing 20 pics in its first three years, two more than were envisioned in its original business plan.

Hit parade

Its current release, the laffer “Anger Management,” starring Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson, has enjoyed the top B.O. berth the past two weekends. Pic’s $42.2 million bow was the biggest ever April opener.

One of the company’s biggest hits was the Vin Diesel actioner “XXX,” which grossed $275 million at the worldwide B.O. and strong-armed an impressive $100 million more on DVD.

“It is a credit to all of our employees, partners and investors that we have reached this level so quickly,” Revolution founder-partner Joe Roth said. “With our 14th film, the extremely successful ‘Anger Management,’ the partnership between Revolution Studios and Sony Pictures Entertainment continues to thrive.”

Speaking about the credit line, Revolution partner Rob Moore said, “This is a testament to the rapid growth and success of this young company and a validation of the strength of our business model. With long-term ownership of our film library, the additional operating capital gives Revolution Studios significant additional flexibility to take advantage of all production opportunities regardless of size.”

Since its formation in 2000 by Roth, Revolution has had an output deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment, in which Revolution independently develops pics, which are then marketed and distribbed by Sony domestically, under the Columbia Pictures banner, and in most foreign territories. Other founding partners include Roth’s former Disney colleagues Moore and Todd Garner, ex-Fox exec Tom Sherak and former ICM agent Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas in Gotham.

Sony has a stake in Revolution, as do Starz Encore Group and Fox Entertainment Group. Revolution’s pay television rights are handled by Starz, while Fox controls network television, basic cable and TV syndication domestically.

The rest of Revolution’s releases for the year include the laffers “Daddy Day Care,” toplined by Eddie Murphy, and “Gigli,” with Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck; action comedy “Hollywood Homicide,” with Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett; and the dramas “Mona Lisa Smile,” with Julia Roberts, and “Radio,” starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Ed Harris. The year ends with the big-budget live action adaptation of “Peter Pan,” a co-production with Columbia and Universal Pictures. Company this year has released the horror thriller “Darkness Falls” and the Bruce Willis actioner “Tears of the Sun.”

“Missing” on ’04 slate

Revolution is planning to release another nine pics in 2004. Among them: the Ron Howard-helmed suspense thriller “The Missing,” with Imagine Entertainment co-producing; Guillermo Del Toro’s adaptation of the comic book “Hellboy”; supernatural thriller “The Forgotten,” with Julianne Moore; the Wayans brothers spoof “Alien Flick”; the romantic comedies “13 Going on 30” and “Little Black Book,” and the Bruce Willis actioner “Hostage.”

Shepherded by John Miller, managing director of JP Morgan Chase’s entertainment-lending unit, JP Morgan Chase led the new round of funding, which came from a consortium of 11 banks that include Comerica Bank, BNP Paribas, Westdeutsche Landesbank, Union Bank of California, Societe Generale, Natexis Banques Populaires, Vereins-und Westbank, City National Bank, HSBC Bank USA, US Bank National Assn. and Manufacturers Bank.

JP Morgan recently helped secure a $1.5 billion credit facility and loan securitization for DreamWorks, and just before that led a $1.7 billion credit facility for MGM and $450 million credit refinancing for Arnon Milchan’s New Regency Prods.

“John Miller has always been supportive of the entertainment community and in this case has done a terrific job for Revolution Studios,” Roth said.

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