Universal, Sony stand behind slate

Universal Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment have thrown their support behind slate financing partner Ryan Kavanaugh, who is facing charges stemming from a drunken-driving arrest.

Both studios spoke out after news surfaced Friday that Kavanaugh was cited in October in connection with drunken-driving, speeding and driving with a suspended license. At the time of the arrest, Kavanaugh was on probation for a previous conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol. He will be arraigned Friday in Beverly Hills.

The two studios insist that it is business as usual with Kavanaugh and his Relativity Media empire, which also includes a one-off picture biz that has spawned such films as “3:10 to Yuma” and “The Forbidden Kingdom.” In addition to his slate financing deals with the two studios, Kavanaugh is on the verge of closing a deal to buy U genre label Rogue Pictures for $150 million.

A Sony spokesman said the situation “would not impact the studio’s film financing.” And a Universal spokeswoman added, “We don’t anticipate that this will have any effect on our current business.”

Kavanaugh, who in recent years has become one of the most important players in Hollywood after striking a series of multibillion-dollar slate financing deals with Sony and U, said the charges will have no effect on his myriad entertainment interests.

“This has no impact on Relativity’s business,” said a spokesman for Kavanaugh, CEO of Relativity Media.

According to a source, Kavanaugh was driving home from a Universal premiere when he was arrested in the early hours of Oct. 23. He was not booked or detained at the time, which is likely why the news only surfaced Friday.

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