You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

At work with Ryan Kavanaugh

Relativity chief gives credit where credit is due

A team player, Relativity chief gives credit where credit is due


Prexy of Relativity’s worldwide production, Tucker Tooley is dubbed the “lifeblood” of the firm. Kavanaugh credits Tooley’s “incredible creative instinct” as he works alongside exec VP, physical & post production Kenneth Halsband, but Tooley stays tuned to the company’s motto to let the creatives maintain their vision.

Steve Bertram, prexy/CFO, and Brian Edwards, COO, are responsible for day-to-day operation of the outfit. Bertram, known as the “right-hand business guy,” is also known as the “yin” to Kavanaugh’s “yang.”

Exec veep of biz development

Ramon Wilson, works with Bertram on the financial side.

Prexy of corporate development and strategy, Andrew Marcus has teamed with Kavanaugh over six years at Relativity, helping to create and close the financial structures while working with partners on Wall Street.

As CEO of RelativityReal, Tom Forman is producing 14 series. At RelativityReal, he helps maximize the film and TV branding efforts with Kavanaugh. Current shows on the air include “Police Women of Broward County” and “The Great Food Truck Race,” with “Catfish” on the grill.

PR strategist Adam Keen bridges the gap between Relativity and the rest of the world, handling the reins on all Relativity projects. “Keen understands all aspects of the biz,” Kavanaugh says.

Kavanaugh is always looking ahead to new strategies, and Rogue Life prexy Randall Cox matches his vision for the future. The digital media guru has shown that, through unique deals with YouTube, Twitter and Clear Channel, viral campaigns can not only be as successful as traditional media marketing, but cheaper, too.

The well-known music supervisor-turned-Rogue Music and Rogue Sports president works closely with Kavanaugh on music in Relativity-produced projects to cross-promote, brand and leverage the company’s sports and music efforts across all divisions.


Relativity has key partnerships with Sony’s Michael Lynton and Bob Osher, and Universal’s Ron Meyers and Adam Fogelson. The companies have joined forces with Relativity to produce such films as Sony’s “The Social Network” and Universal’s “Mamma Mia!.” Kavanaugh and Lynton have frequent “intellectual media meetings” to discuss the state of the biz, and Kavanaugh considers Meyers — or “Ronnie” to him — to be a close friend.

Helping cement close ties between Netflix and Relativity, Kavanaugh speaks with Netflix content honcho Ted Sarandos several times a week. Kavanaugh calls Sarandos “one of the smartest people” he’s ever met in the business.

In an exclusive deal with Virgin, Relativity has been able to plug pics with campaigns such as “Limitless” drinks on Virgin Airlines. Sir Richard Branson and Jason Felts collaborate with Kavanaugh in creating out-of-the-box, fresh content ideas that embrace both the Relativity and Virgin ideals.

CEO of Elliott Management Corp., hedge funder Paul Singer stands as a significant investor in Relativity. The fund tops out at over $17 billion, and Kavanaugh credits him in helping “guide Relativity to operate as a large corporation and maximize value.”


One of Kavanaugh’s best friends, Ryan Seacrest spearheaded the ClearChannel-Relativity deal. Aside from catching up between busy scheduling conflicts, Seacrest and Kavanaugh constantly brainstorm new ways to leverage their brands and maximize the value for both.

Industry allies Bryan Lourd and Kevin Huvane of CAA and Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell of WME are good friends of Kavanaugh and have been supportive of Relativity since the early days.

Kavanaugh’s band of advisers pack a solid punch — Tom Sherak, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Rob Wiesenthal and Tom Kartsotis are willing to have their brains picked and act as mentors.

JP Morgan exec Greg O’Hara serves as a key day-to-day adviser. “He’s someone who has run and built many businesses,” Kavanaugh notes.Union Bank’s Bryan LaCour and Comerica’s Jared Underwood, longtime colleagues, as well as Citibank’s Alfred Griffin, who led the $600 million deal with Sony, are also constant resources. Other key execs include City National’s Charles Heaphy and Steve Shapiro; CIT’s Wade Layton and Kevin Khanna; and Wells Fargo’s Christine Ball and Earl Kwak.


Legal go-to Curtis W. Bajak — or “Curt” to Kavanaugh — has flown with Kavanaugh for seven years and runs the legal biz on anything with a dollar sign attached to it at Relativity. “I probably talk to Curt 10 times a day,” says Kavanaugh.

Legal eagle Carol Genis serves as an additional advisor, and is Relativity’s copyright lawyer — reportedly repping Relativity in its lawsuit against the Weinstein Co. over “The Crow” remake.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Amanda

    ‘Amanda’ Takes Home Best Int’l Film at 15th Sanfic

    SANTIAGO, Chile    French director Mikhael Hers’ “Amanda” scooped up the Best Int’l Film award Saturday (Aug. 24) at the 15th Santiago Int’l Film Fest (Sanfic), which reported a 20% audience uptick in the past two years and continues to grow its reputation as the most vibrant and prominent film festival in Latin America’s Southern [...]

  • disney d23

    Cruella, Kit Harington and Black Panther's Return: Everything We Learned at D23 Day Two

    Not to be outdone by the avalanche of series orders and casting announcements bolstering the new streaming series Disney Plus, Walt Disney Studios showed off its film wares in a marathon presentation at D23 on Saturday. The Anaheim, Calif. expo brought star power, if perhaps fewer surprises than Friday’s presentation, as fans in princess and [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein, Katie Holmes, Taylor Swift'The

    Taylor Swift Downplays Association With Harvey Weinstein

    Taylor Swift’s association with disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was among the topics the singer addressed in a revealing new interview with The Guardian. Weinstein held producer credits for the movies “One Chance” and “The Giver,” both of which featured Swift — in the former, a song, and in the latter, a supporting role. She [...]

  • Breaking Bad Movie

    'Breaking Bad' Movie: Watch the First Teaser for 'El Camino'

    In case you hadn’t heard, Emmy-winning drama “Breaking Bad” is cooking up a movie sequel. On Saturday, after details of Netflix’s project quietly leaked online, the streaming giant issued the first teaser for “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,” which will be released on October 11. Starring Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman, the “Breaking Bad” [...]

  • Samara Weaving and Adam Brody Big

    'Ready or Not': That Time Samara Weaving Hit Andie MacDowell in the Face

    Samara Weaving didn’t mean to hurt Andie MacDowell, but she did just that while they were rehearsing for their new horror dark comedy “Ready or Not.” “I hit Andie MacDowell in the face by accident,” Weaving says on this week’s episode of “The Big Ticket,” Variety and iHeart’s movie podcast. “It was horrible. It was [...]

  • Aracne

    Chile’s Sanfic, Mexico’s Morbido Fest Pact to Promote Latino Horror (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mexican horror festival Morbido and Chile’s Santiago Intl. Film Festival (Sanfic) have agreed on a long-term collaboration intended to strengthen the genre film industry in Chile and across Latin America. This partnership will see Morbido representatives attend the Sanfic industry section each year to aid in the promotion of horror projects and advise those projects [...]

  • Tom Holland'Spider-Man: Homecoming' film premiere, Arrivals,

    Tom Holland Addresses Spider-Man’s Studio Divorce at D23: ‘I Love You 3000’

    British actor Tom Holland showed face on the main stage at D23 on Saturday, in the thick of an ugly studio battle over the rights to his iconic Marvel character Spider-Man. Headlines have been rolling in for days about the contentious battle for the cinematic future of the hero, after Sony Pictures became unwilling to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content