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Relativity's co-financing deals with Universal and Sony could end soon

September 30, 2010 |  9:00 am

Relativity Media has become known in Hollywood over the last few years for its huge co-financing deals at Sony Pictures and Universal Pictures. It covers half the budgets for 75% of the movies produced at both studios.

But Relativity is rapidly transforming into a company that produces and releases its own movies, a move enabled in part by its acquisition this summer of the distribution and marketing assets of Overture Films.

In an interview with The Times, Relativity Chief Executive Ryan Kavanaugh said that after his company's deals with Sony and Universal end in 2012 and 2015, respectively, they won't be renewed on similar terms. "I don't want to say we won't ever co-finance again," he said. "However, it will not be in the same manner that you've seen in the past."

But Relativity's deal with Universal might not even last that long. Asked whether Comcast Corp.'spending acquisition of the studio's parent company, NBC Universal, could alter or end that partnership, he admitted that it was still an open question: "No decisions as to our co-financing future with them have been made."

Read the entire interview with Kavanaugh here, including his explanation of why Relativity wants to become a fully functioning studio in these tough times for Hollywood.

--Ben Fritz

Photo: Ryan Kavanaugh. Credit: Alex J. Berliner / BEImages