While one former Relativity film found new life Wednesday with a distribution deal with the Weinstein Company, another is continuing to fight in bankruptcy court for its freedom from the bankrupt studio.
The Weinstein Co. announced it would release the Natalie Portman Western “Jane Got a Gun” in the U.S. next February, after the film was pulled away from Relativity just before the company’s July 30 bankruptcy filing. But IM Global didn’t escape so easily and filed papers in U.S. Bankruptcy Court Wednesday saying that it should be freed from a previous distribution deal with Relativity so that it can find a new partner to release the thriller “Collide.”
Relativity has filed papers in the bankruptcy that would allow it to transfer contracts and leases to the winner of bidding for the bankrupt company in an auction set for Oct. 1. Dozens of producers and other partners are listed in the papers. But at least some, including IM Global, are likely to lodge objections to Relativity selling the contracts as part of the auction. Their argument is that the failed studio does not have the resources to meet obligations to distribute films.
The makers of “Jane Got a Gun” avoided this fate by securing a release for the film just prior to the July 30 Chapter 11 filing. The film has had a tortuous history — with its first director walking out a day before filming was to begin and several would-be stars also jettisoning the project. After Jude Law, Michael Fassbender and Bradley Cooper passed on the film, though, new director Gavin O’Connor managed to pull the project together, with Portman, Ewan McGregor and Noah Emmerich. Brian Duffield scripted, with Anthony Tambakis performing a rewrite.
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High-profile attorney David Boies, who has long represented the Weinsteins, was able to reach an agreement to remove the film from Relativity. He had a connection to the film through his law partner, Jonathan Schiller, who is the father of Zach Schiller, the producer of “Jane Got a Gun.”
The film does not yet have a specific date in February. It will first be released in Europe in November. No financial terms of the arrangement were available.
IM Global would also like to take “Collide” (previously titled “Autobahn”) and run to a new distributor. The company’s filing in bankruptcy court said that Relativity had pledged to spend at least $24.5 million in marketing the film prior to and during its release on October 30 and another $500,00o after opening weekend.
With the film set to go on 2,000 screens, the insolvent company had “done nothing to market or prepare for a wide release of the film…..and [did] not have the resources to honor their wide release obligations,” the IM Global motion said. The impending failure to release in the U.S. means that the film cannot be shown overseas either, the filing says. “It is extremely urgent that IM global is able to to put in place an alternative U.S. distribution plan,” IM Global’s lawyers said.
As with most of the other contracts and leases it would like to make part of the sale, Relativity reported a “cure” amount of $0. IM Global objects, saying it does not agree that any new owner of the company after the bankruptcy deal should be able to take over its deal with Relativity. “IM Global will not accept performance from any other entity, other than one of its own choosing,” the filing says.
“Collide” is helmed by British director Eran Creevy. It stars Nicholas Hoult, Felicity Jones and Anthony Hopkins, the latter as a blood thirsty mob boss who puts Hoult’s character on the run. IM Global says it wants the film out, with a partner of its own choosing.
The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news about the new release plan for “Jane Got a Gun.”