×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Relativity Media Claims Lifeline From Obscure Maple Leaf Films

The latest company to reportedly throw a financial lifeline to bankrupt Relativity Media is an obscure offshoot of a Canadian investment firm. Previously a funder of three small, little-known pictures, Maple Leaf Films was introduced this week as a partner that will provide $400 million in “equity film financing” to Relativity, the troubled company that filed for Chapter 11 protection last July.

A day after Relativity introduced Maple Leaf as the most recent in a long string of potential financial allies (many of which failed to materialize), the profile of the new financier remained obscure. Its principals did not respond to requests for comment, and it could not be determined how the reported $400 million investment relates to Relativity’s ongoing attempts to extricate itself from bankruptcy.

Relativity goes before a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge in New York on Friday morning with an appeal to be allowed to emerge from the court’s protection. Judge Michael Wiles will have to determine whether the entertainment company, founded by Ryan Kavanaugh, has done enough to show that it has adequate funding and appropriate management to go forward, without the need for another reorganization or bankruptcy filing.

Relativity had once pledged to raise $100 million in new equity, then said it could get by with a new infusion of just $20 million. Its latest filings with the bankruptcy court suggest its key financing to exit from Chapter 11 will come in the form of two loans, totaling $75 million, from Relativity Media partner Joe Nicholas and from Midcap Financial Trust. Maple Leaf is not mentioned in the court filings.

The company plans to go ahead with producer Dana Brunetti as head of its film studio, but without Brunetti’s long-time business partner, Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey, who reported that he is too busy with other ventures to join Kavanaugh’s company.

But Maple Leaf and its relevance to the bankruptcy proceeding did not appear to be mentioned in any filings with the bankruptcy court. The company was described in a Relativity press release as part of the Maple Leaf Capital Group of companies, which reportedly focus on hedge funds, real estate and film finance through offices in London, Hong Kong and Los Angeles.

Although the press release said the company began its producing and film financing activities in 2005, it has limited credits. The company backed the film “Standoff,” starring Laurence Fishburne as an assassin who is after a 12-year-old witness to a murder. Released in February, it received a 36 Metacritic score from a handful of reviewers.

Maple Leaf also helped fund the upcoming “The Tank,” to be distributed by Open Road Films, about a simulated trip to Mars that ends in catastrophic failure, and “Hunter’s Prayer,” starring Sam Worthington and Odeya Rush, about an assassin helping a young woman avenge her family’s death.

The Relativity announcement names Michael Wexler and Tove Christensen as principals in Maple Leaf Films, though it does not describe their exact roles. The pair did not respond to an email query.

A bio on the Maple Leaf Capital website says Wexler co-founded the parent company in 2002. He previously worked at Credit Suisse First Boston in London, establishing and managing the single stock derivative trading group. Prior to that he was involved in currency derivative trading for Citibank, the website says. He graduated with distinction from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario in 1993.

Christensen is the brother of “Star Wars” actor Hayden Christensen. The pair partnered on a production company called Glacier Films.

More Biz

  • Doug Davis and Jodie ShihadehVariety Power

    Jodie Shihadeh Named Partner at The Davis Firm

    Jodie Shihadeh has been named Partner at The Davis Firm, PLLC. She joined the firm in 2011 and rose from associate to Managing Attorney and now partner. She graduated from Boston College and received her law degree from Fordham University School of Law in 2011. While still in law school she interned in the Business [...]

  • Peak TV Saturation TV Placeholder

    Nickelodeon Alum Keith Dawkins Sets Kidvid Partnership With Believe Media Group

    Former Nickelodeon executive Keith Dawkins has partnered with Believe Media Group to develop children’s programming. Dawkins will partner with Believe under his newly formed Rock Hill Media Ventures, which aims to advise companies in media, entertainment and sports on working with diverse and emerging talent. Dawkins previously spent 17 years at Viacom, most of which [...]

  • CBS Studios Exterior

    CBS Credit Union Manager Pleads Guilty to $40 Million Fraud

    The manager of a credit union for CBS employees pleaded guilty in Los Angeles federal court on Monday to a $40 million embezzlement scheme. Edward Rostohar, 62, was arrested in March after the scheme began to unravel. According to prosecutors, he admitted to stealing money from the bank for the last 20 years. Rostohar is [...]

  • Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The

    CAA's Packaging Fee Becomes Flashpoint in 'Walking Dead' Litigation

    The issue that is at the heart of the WGA’s present standoff with talent agencies has flared up as a source of tension in the litigation between AMC Networks and Frank Darabont and CAA over profit participation on “The Walking Dead.” The practice of talent agencies receiving packaging fees for helping to assemble the creative [...]

  • Sony Music to Deliver ‘Real Time’

    Sony Music to Deliver ‘Real Time’ Data, Royalty Payments to Artists

    Sony Music today announced two new payment features for its artists — “Real Time Royalties” and “Cash Out” — through its artist portal beginning this fall. 

A memo sent to artists Monday morning and obtained by Variety says  the initiatives will “allow our artists and royalty participants to view and withdraw earnings faster than ever [...]

  • Whitney Houston

    Whitney Houston Estate Plans Hologram Tour, Album, Musical

    In the seven years since Whitney Houston’s death, there has been relatively little of the asset-exploitation that usually follows the passing of a music icon, apart from a smattering of previously unreleased recordings, a pair of harrowing documentaries and a lot of unflattering press. But according to an article in the New York Times, the [...]

  • rocketman-elton-john-costume

    Elton John Biopic 'Rocketman' Taps Lucky Brand Collaboration as Part of Promo Push

    Paramount has set a May 28 release date for its Elton John-inspired clothing collection with retailer Lucky Brand, which celebrates the performer’s iconic style and new biopic, “Rocketman” (see tickets and showtimes here). The limited-edition collaboration arrives in stores three days before the film hits theaters, though it’s available for purchase right now on LuckyBrand.com. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content