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Relativity banks on relationships

Company brings film trio to Berlinale

Relativity Media will have a strong presence at the Berlin market, which could see an effect from the ongoing consolidation of suppliers changing the distributor landscape. Relativity brings three pics including Antoine Fuqua’s “Hunter Killer,” to star Gerard Butler; Lasse Hallstrom’s “Safe Haven,” based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks; and Philip Noyce’s “Timeless,” toplined by Liam Hemsworth (“The Hunger Games”).

“We’ve been building our pipeline the last few months and felt that Berlin was a great place and the right time to launch three new titles in the marketplace,” said Andrew Marcus, prexy of corporate development and strategy, who noted that Relativity has “become a virtual worldwide distribution company” in the past several years.

Neal Moritz and Toby Jaffe are producing the espionage thriller “Hunter Killer” with Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh, while Relativity co-prexy Tucker Tooley will exec produce with co-writer Arne Schmidt. The “Twilight” team of Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen will produce the Dana Stevens-scripted “Safe Haven” with Kavanaugh and Sparks, while Tooley will exec produce the pic, which hits theaters Valentine’s Day 2013. Bill Kelly wrote “Timeless,” which Kavanaugh is producing with Sunil Perkash.

Relativity continues to expand its global reach. Company has an exclusive multi-year deal with FilmNation Entertainment to oversee the international sales and distribution of its pics. FilmNation will be Relativity’s sales agent on the ground in Berlin.

“Relativity’s international platform is very strong and the industry is at a very interesting time of consolidation. Lionsgate buying Summit provides opportunities for companies like Relativity. Likewise, when Warner Bros. absorbed New Line, that left an opening for other companies, and Relativity stepped into the fold and closed many of its output deals in the wake of that transaction,” said Marcus.

Relativity has shored up its foreign output deals, having just closed a new pact with South African distrib Nu Metro Distribution that will run through November 2014. Pics in the pact include Steven Soderbergh’s action-thriller “Haywire,” Tarsem Singh’s adventure comedy “Mirror Mirror,” the Navy SEAL actioner “Act of Valor” and the comedy “21 and Over.”

Relativity’s renewed output deals include:

• Imagem Filmes, which handles the distribution of Relativity’s films in Latin America, has extended through December 2014.

• Roadshow Films, which distributes in Australia and New Zealand, has extended through March 2014.

• Taiwan’s Studio Solutions Group. has extended the deal through April 2016.

• Canada’s Alliance Films and U.K.-based Momentum Pictures have extended through August 2015.

• Village Roadshow Film Distributors Greece and Singapore distrib Golden Village Pictures, each extending their pacts through March 2014.

Among the advantages to having a strong collection of output deals is the guarantee of distribution, according to Marcus. “It’s nice to not have to go to market and sell every individual territory for each film. Quite frankly, having surety of sales and distribution allows us to spend time building long-term partnerships and efficiencies. We’re able to go to the Berlin market and talk about marketing campaigns and distribution strategies with our partners rather than sales prices and deal points.”

Relativity’s network of foreign output partners already includes TriPictures (Spain), MGN/Paradise Films (CIS and eastern Europe), Nordisk Film (Scandinavia and Iceland), A-Film Distribution (Benelux), Gulf Film (the Middle East), Aqua Group Inc/Pinema (Turkey), Entertainment in Motion (Global Airlines), Sky Land (joint venture with IDG and Saif Partners in China) and Senator Entertainment (Germany).

“When you have a film that overperforms, it should lead to overages, which should have the same effect as a bidding war over a particular title at market,” said Marcus. “The benefit of output deals is also mitigating downside risk. The difference in going to market versus having an output deal is difficult to predict, but we make up for the differential by having marketing and distribution efficiencies, and having great integrations with international distributors is invaluable.”

Relativity also inked a deal with Netflix to license all pay TV rights for Latin America through 2018, which will include films produced and released by Relativity, starting with “Act of Valor” in February.

“We generally do all-rights deals, but the Netflix arrangement splits our Latin America deal into two components — pay TV and all other rights — providing additional benefits,” explained Marcus.

Relativity’s 3D epic “Immortals” has grossed $225.4 million worldwide, and “Haywire” will screen out of competition at the fest, with Soderbergh and stars Gina Carano, Michael Fassbender and Antonio Banderas in attendance.

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