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David Poland

By David Poland

Ryan Kavanaugh Was Already A "Real" Mogul Before Overture

Here is what you were being asked to buy on a Friday afternoon…
For $10 million or so (as alleged by The Wrap), Ryan Kavanaugh has purchased a walking-dead entity that released 16 movies in 4 years of business, and this now makes him a “real” studio mogul.
Can’t we see what’s in front of our faces? Relativity is a producer on over 20 films this year. This year alone they have made more movies than Overture made in its entire 4-year run. Ryan Kavanaugh was already a much bigger mogul than the Overturians… and has his personal fingers in more films than anyone in town.
Can he sustain? Is it a house of cards? What’s the long play? All reasonable questions that I still find myself asking.
But while guys like Patrick Goldstein are trying to make it sound like he uses a Ouija board to pick his movies based on something he read in a magazine, Kavanaugh has told me, rather directly, that his Ouija board is really a strong foreign sales position in which he claims 70% of the funding on every movie he now makes is guaranteed by pre-sales in 103 countries. Not very new fangled.
Ask me about the Overture sale and I will tell you this… Kavanaugh hired some talent and got them and some product at a bargain basement price. These players may or may not stick with Relativity. Relativity may or may not end up being an ongoing theatrical distributor. But he was the lead player here, not the guy somehow lucking his way up the ladder.
And ironically, if the three movies Starz now has release rights to include the pay-tv rights – which I assume they must – then Relativity can more than pay for the “acquisition” from the NetFlix rights alone.
In other words, Starz seems to have, basically, paid Relativity to take Overture and its ongoing employment contracts and responsibilities for releasing these three movies as in a baseball trade… Starz may have gotten some cash, but Relativity got a lot more in value than what it paid, but it also takes on some responsibilities.
As someone unnamed former Overturer told The Wrap, “The company’s not being sold, it’s being wound down.”
Yeah. Pretty much.
And what a nice story it will be if the Overture team does great things for Relativity and they live happily ever after. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There is no assurance at all of either group being fully committed to the other.
But somehow, because the press release said, in graph 4 of its press release, “

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon