Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Relativity Media Buys Rogue Pictures

After more than two months of negotiations, Relativity Media has closed a deal to buy Rogue Pictures from Universal Pictures for roughly $150 million.

Move bolsters Relativity's library, adding some 30 titles, including Rogue's debut pic "Unleashed" and summer horror hit "The Strangers," which earned $53 million. Relativity's new assets also include more than 30 Rogue projects in various stages of development, such as a "Strangers" sequel, which has a finished script. Relativity will inherit a number of producing deals as well, including those with Wes Craven and Intrepid.

A source familiar with the deal dubbed the $150 million sale price a bargain, adding that in a better economy, the consistently profitable genre label could have fetched perhaps more than double that sum. But Universal also comes out of the deal a winner, taking a lump cash payment now and retaining a distribution stake in future Rogue films. As part of the deal, Universal will continue to release Rogue titles for most of the world and collect a discounted distribution fee of roughly 10%, which is less than the standard rate of 12% but more than the 8% that companies like Marvel and DreamWorks Animation pay.

Today's announcement comes on the heels of Relativity's landmark equity partnership with Universal (announced earlier this fall) where Relativity will fund a substantial part of Universal's upcoming slate until 2015.

Founded in 2004 by David Linde and James Schamus, Rogue Pictures is devoted to producing high-quality suspense, action, thriller, comedy and urban entertainment with mainstream appeal and franchise potential. Past hits include: The Strangers, Waist Deep, The Hitcher, Balls of Fury, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Dave Chapelle's Block Party, Unleashed, Doomsday, Fearless, and Assault on Precinct 13.

Sounds like a promising deal for Universal. They still get distribution rights to Rogue films in most of the world and Relativity Media helps fund the films. This is also a major coup for Relativity Media since Rogue Pictures has been generating nothing, but profit from some of their latest films and I have a feeling that Rogue is going to become alot more valuable in the future.

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