The name of Relativity Studios would not be unfamiliar to a regular movie-goer. It is the film production division of the parent entity Relativity Media and one of the bigger studios in the ‘mini-major’ space, which means it isn’t producing small indie flicks and neither large budget summer movies. Relativity Media came into being in 2004 and had expanded into avenues beyond movie distribution such as television and sports. But by late June 2015, Relativity Media had filed for bankruptcy bringing to an end its decade-long roller coaster ride. With liabilities of more than $1 billion and disgruntled creditors and financiers hovering around, along with accusations levied on its CEO of swindling of funds, Relativity is likely to go under auction in October 2015 with bulk of the company up for sale.
The financial mess which Relativity finds itself in is not the sad bit of the story. Rather, I feel disappointed for the upcoming movies which may not find a release date now. Movies which deserved their day in the theatres, directors and actors who had worked hard to entertain the audience and for their art to be judged, they are the ones who come out as losers for no fault of theirs. Release dates of most of the upcoming movies from Relativity have been either kept on hold or postponed as Relativity no longer has the funds to promote them. If the sale of the studio goes through quickly, then hopefully the new set of buyers will bring these movies back on track soon. Let’s look at the movies from the studio that are currently in a quagmire.
Of the list, Masterminds looked as the most promising movie for the studio in terms of box-office potential. The movie is a comedy about a night guard at an armored car company who organizes one of the biggest bank heists in American history. It stars a bunch of talented and well-recognised comedians in Zach Galifianakis, Kristen Wiig, Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis, and is directed by Jared Hess. Masterminds was supposed to release on August 19, 2015, but was rescheduled by Relativity Studios to October 9, 2015, owing to financial problems for the studio. It has now been kept on hold, but hopefully, will see the light of the day soon.
The Disappointments Room
This one is a horror film revolving around a mother and her young son who release unimaginable horrors from the attic of their rural dream home. The film stars Kate Beckinsale along with young Lucas Till. It has been directed by D.J. Caruso whose works include Eagle Eye and I Am Number Four. The movie has no release date now and is likely to be up for sale.
Before I Wake
Before I Wake is another horror film, probably a very low-budget one, which was scheduled to release in the theatres towards end of September, but now is quite likely to be sold. It stars Kate Bosworth and has been directed by Mike Flanagan who directed the 2013 horror hit Oculus. The movie Before I Wake is the story of a young couple who adopt an orphaned child whose dreams – and nightmares – manifest physically as he sleeps. The movie’s premise has a lot of potential but the fate of the final product now remains uncertain.
This one was supposed to be a comedy film driven by female leads – Melissa Rauch & Haley Lu Richardson. The Bronze is the story of a foul-mouthed former gymnastics bronze medalist who must fight for her local celebrity status when a new young athlete’s star rises in town. Bryan Buckley, famous in the advertising world, has made his directorial debut in feature films with The Bronze. The movie debuted at the Sundance Film Festival earlier in the year after which Relativity acquired its distribution rights. Its wide release was initially planned for end of July 2015, which was then revised to October 23, 2015, before being completely pulled out. The early reviews for the film though have not been too promising.
Collide (or Autobahn)
An action film, Collide has a good star cast which includes Felicity Jones, Nicholas Hoult, Anthony Hopkins and Ben Kingsley. The movie is directed by British director Eran Creevy whose previous film was the 2013 action thriller Welcome to the Punch. The movie Collide was supposed to release on October 30, 2015, but now the producers are seeking a new distributor.
The action thriller Kidnap is one of the few films which Relativity still wants to distribute. The film is about a mother who tries to find her abducted son. It stars Halle Berry who has been a bit detached from movies ever since she started featuring in the TV series Extant. It has been directed by Spanish-born director, Luis Prieto. Kidnap was initially planned to be released on October 9, 2015, which has now been pushed to February 26, 2016. A lot could happen between now and then to decide the movie’s fate.
How things pan out for Relativity Media in the next few weeks will be closely watched by people in the movie industry, but more so by those whose work has been directly affected. Hopefully, they will find a distributor sooner than later!