Sony banks on Relativity

Studio brokers third co-financing deal

Sony is reaching back into Relativity Media’s pockets for more coin.

The studio has brokered a third co-financing deal, this one dubbed Beverly Blvd., that Relativity will operate under subsidiary Relativity Media Holdings.

Deal calls for Beverly Blvd to co-invest in approximately 75% of Columbia’s pics — certain tentpole pics will be excluded — under a five-year revolving credit facility. It covers a longer period than Gun Hill Road 1 and 2, the previous deals, which were tied to a defined slate of pics now well under way.

Under this pact, monies generated by pics co-financed by the fund will roll back into it and finance future pics.

As before, Relativity has certain flexibility about the type of pics the fund will co-finance. And the studio gets to lower its costs.

So far, the arrangement seems to be working to both parties’ satisfaction.

“Clearly, Relativity was interested in doing a third deal with Columbia,” said Columbia Pictures Motion Picture Group chief operating officer Bob Osher, who noted the studio’s boffo run at the box office last year.

Indeed, Relativity principal Ryan Kavanaugh tipped his hat to Sony’s recent perf, saying, “We firmly believe in the strength of the studio’s slate, distribution capabilities and especially in their management team.”

Fund, which could pour as much as $1.1 billion into 80-100 studio films, will likely involve another studio(Daily Variety, Jan. 31). Universal has also tapped into the Gun Hill Road funds.

Sony signed its first co-financing deal with Relativity a little over a year ago; so far Relativity has arranged roughly $750 million in financing for the studio through the Gun Hill pacts.

Kavanaugh has brokered many of the slate deals between hedge funds and the major studios, including Virtual Studios at Warner Bros. and the Gun Hill Road funds. His company has structured more than $4.22 billion in coin for pics such as “Catch and Release,” “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” and “3:10 to Yuma.”

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