Prestige films take a hit as Relativity acquires Overture Films
How many companies can Relativity Media run under its umbrella? There may be no limit. The film financing company already has Rogue Pictures in its stable and produces films with studios all across Hollywood as well as a special distribution deal with Lionsgate. Now, the entity has acquired Overture Films from Starz.
Overture was launched four years ago under the auspices of former MGM head Chris McGurk as a new alternative to established specialty lables, but Starz became increasingly impatient with the mini-major even with such successes as "Men Who Stare At Goats," "The Visitor" and "Law Abiding Citizen." According to a release from Relativity, Overture's 45 member marketing and distribution staff will stay in tact and now work on upcoming Relativity pictures. What is unclear is whether the company will continue to own or use the Overture label or take over all operations of its Rogue label. Currently, Universal Pictures markets and distributes Rogue films for a fee, but the partnership has had limited success since Relativity acquired Rogue early in 2009.
Overture's three upcoming releases are now more than safe for release in 2010. In fact, "Let Me In," "Stone" and "Jack Goes Boating" may have more substantial resources behind their campaigns than before. Overture is showcasing a special preview for the Matt Reeves' directed "Let Me In" tomorrow at San Diego Comic-Con.
In a statement, Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh said, “We are in a great position to bring the marketing and distribution savvy of Peter and Kyle, and their teams to our home at Relativity. As we've been expanding this area of our business finding a team with the experience and breadth and depth that Peter and Kyle's have couldn't have been a more perfect fit. They have released an incredibly broad slate of films over the past 15 years including some of the highest grossing films in their respective years. I really commend Starz for its smart leadership in helping us make this move.”
“We are very excited to be joining Ryan Kavanaugh and Relativity, as what they’ve accomplished in the past few years has been nothing short of extraordinary,” said Peter Adee. “We’re also pleased to reach this agreement, which benefits everyone, and most especially will support these great films as they are set to reach audiences.”
The news does mean, however, that one more player has most likely left he prestige picture scene. Relativity has financed pictures as diverse as "Nine," "A Serious Man," "Frost/Nixon" and "3:10 to Yuma," but their bread and butter are genre and thriller films. Considering the pending sale of Miramax to Ronald Tutor, who has publicly said he sees the property as mostly a library, and the seemingly quick death of Apparition Films (at best its fate can be described as on life support), there is a growing gap in the market place for quality pictures. Whether any studios, financiers or other companies will fill that void remains to be seen.