×

Relativity Media Extends Furlough; Down to Handful of Employees, Sources Say

Relativity Media’s fade out continued this week, as the bulk of the company’s employees were told that an unpaid furlough that began over the two-week winter holiday will continue indefinitely, according to two people familiar with the operation.

Only a handful of workers remain at the entertainment firm that had already pared its staff to less than 30, those sources said. Relativity once aspired to be a “360-degree global media platform” that could compete with Hollywood’s big studios.

The news comes in the wake of other signs of Relativity’s decline, eight months after its bankruptcy reorganization; CEO Ryan Kavanaugh and President Dana Brunetti signaled just before the holidays that they would step down from daily duties. And, this week, the company laid off roughly 40 workers who staffed its joint distribution operation with EuropaCorp.

There is wide speculation in Hollywood that Relativity will cease operating either by liquidating its assets under a Chapter 7 filing, or simply by shutting its doors.

“To me this is the true end of Relativity,” said one individual close to the company. “There is no more marketing function and no production to speak of. Ryan is gone. Dana is gone. It’s over.”

Relativity COO Ken Halsband referred questions to the company’s outside spokesperson, who declined to comment. One person close to management, who declined to be identified, refuted the claim that less than a half-dozen employees remain.

Two insiders said that Halsband intends to keep the company afloat, though he has never publicly discussed how he would achieve that. The sources also noted that the operation is looking to cut costs by moving out of its Beverly Hills headquarters. Lawyers who handled the company’s bankruptcy are still owed millions of dollars. Relativity’s decline has also hit those on the low end of the economic spectrum — with a gardener complaining Wednesday that he is owed $2,600, according to an insider.

Kavanaugh, the 42-year-old entrepreneur who founded Relativity a dozen years ago, has never publicly acknowledged or refuted press reports that he was leaving his post as CEO. A statement from a company spokesperson suggested he would continue to work, in some capacity, with Brunetti and another Relativity executive.

That same statement, late last month, said that Brunetti had “transitioned to a production deal” with the company and added the he also remained a shareholder. “The company, Dana and Ryan agreed that Dana’s greatest value add to the company is to make the movies he wants to, giving him flexibility to make the films he enjoys,” the statement said.

Brunetti was hired last January by Kavanaugh to help lead the company’s resurgence, originally to team with his long-time producing partner, Academy Award-winner Kevin Spacey. But Spacey dropped out of the arrangement months ago and, on Tuesday, Brunetti was packing up his office, according to one insider.

More Film

  • The Lion King Box Office

    Box Office: 'The Lion King' Rules With $185 Million Debut

    Simba and Mufasa reigned supreme this weekend as Disney’s “The Lion King” dominated box office charts. Director Jon Favreau’s remake of the animated classic collected a massive $185 million from 4,756 North American theaters during its first three day of release. That figure represents the second-best domestic debut of the year behind Disney and Marvel’s [...]

  • Creative-Producers-Indaba-Cover-Image-1920x1080-px-2

    Realness, EAVE, IFFR, Sundance Launch African Producers Network

    DURBAN–South Africa’s Realness Institute, EAVE, the Intl. Film Festival Rotterdam, and the Sundance Institute are joining forces to create the Creative Producers Indaba, a professional training program designed to support emerging African producers. Inspired by initiatives such as the EAVE Producers Workshop and Sundance’s Creative Producing, the program will bring together 15 participants to develop [...]

  • BOTM-Eve-Viper-Gang

    Director Angus Gibson: My Audience is ‘Young, Black South Africans’

    DURBAN–Sophiatown, 1958. On the outskirts of Johannesburg, as the apartheid police prepare to demolish the community at the heart of black South African cultural and intellectual life, a notorious gang leader is determined to make a last stand. Resisting the forced evictions that will transport the residents of Sophiatown to a desolate township miles away, [...]

  • marvel

    Marvel Phase 4 Plan Revealed, But Comic-Con’s Big Winner is Disney Plus

    In a triumphant return to the San Diego Comic-Con main stage, leadership at Marvel Studios managed some splashy surprises and showed off risky creative bets for the next two years of content coming from the superhero operation. But the biggest takeaway from the Saturday presentation inside Hall H was how important Marvel will make Disney [...]

  • Florence Pugh, O. T. Fagbenle, Rachel

    'Black Widow': Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh Go Head-to-Head in First Footage

    Marvel’s “Black Widow” has only been in production for a month, but studio president Kevin Feige still delivered the goods for fans at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. Filmmakers brought an intense sizzle reel of on-location shots, kicked off by a dazzling and bone-crushing fight sequence between lead Scarlett Johansson and her on-screen sister Florence [...]

  • Natalie Portman Thor

    Natalie Portman Returns for 'Thor: Love and Thunder' as Female Thor

    Natalie Portman is coming back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but she’s no one’s love interest this time around. The Oscar winner will play a female god of thunder in the fourth film from the Chris Hemsworth series, titled “Thor: Love and Thunder.” Portman hit the stage at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday to great [...]

  • Fantastic Four

    New 'Fantastic Four' Movie in Development at Marvel

    Marvel is going back to the Fantastic Four. Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige announced that a new movie based on the superhero group is in the works at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. Further details, however, including a release date, were not revealed. It marks the first Fox property for Disney to mine since the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content