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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

The FT On Ryan Kavanaugh

The Financial Times’ Matthew Garrahan writes up a compelling read on the rise and rise of Relativity Media’s Ryan Kavanaugh (FT free access for limited number of articles monthly): “At just 36, the redheaded Kavanaugh has already produced more than 30 movies. He has raised billions… from Wall Street firms, money which has been invested in more than 100 films released by Hollywood studios,” Garrahan introduces, including snips from Kavanaugh’ press, such as when Variety “declared that Kavanaugh ‘eschews sleep, clocking a mere 90 minutes to two hours a night,’ and revealed, among other things, that when not producing movies he spends his time ‘working with sick kids in hospitals,’ practicing ‘transcendental meditation’ and ‘closing in on a cure for cancer’ through his involvement with a bio-tech venture.” Garrahan sifts through the origins and history of Relativity even as Kavanaugh refuses an interview. “Kavanaugh was new to the party and spoke openly about how he was going to fix a broken entertainment industry that he claimed wasted too much money. This made him as many enemies as friends… Does he have what it takes to stay in the game as one of Hollywood’s most influential players? … He doesn’t dress like a movie mogul and usually wears jeans, Converse trainers and a shirt with a black tie askew. His grandparents were Holocaust survivors… A number-cruncher adept at structuring complex financial deals, perhaps his biggest talent is his charm, with few in Hollywood rivaling his skill as a salesman. He has earned notoriety in the business for his lavish spending: at one dinner at the Ago restaurant… Kavanaugh left a $20,000 tip, according to someone who claimed they saw the credit card receipt. Relativity would not comment on the terms of Kavanaugh’s remuneration package but the company’s growth has given him access to perks enjoyed by other studio heads such as use of a corporate jet…” The VF-style detail entertains, but it’s the narrative of the company’s fortunes that makes it a must-read. “Hollywood is watching closely, keen to see if renewed Wall Street interest in owning entertainment companies is real or, like so much else in Hollywood, a carefully crafted mirage. But Kavanaugh has worked in the movie business long enough now to know that a good film has to have a compelling third act.” [The history at the link.]

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“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch