US film producer Relativity is to use data gathered from its hit films, such as Mirror Mirror and Shark Night 3D, to move into scripted TV, in what chief executive Ryan Kavanaugh described as a “Moneyball approach to creating television”.
The company is developing two projects based on its existing film properties – Limitless and Act Of Valor – but aims to adapt five or six of its movies to series.
Limitless, an action thriller about an unsuccessful writer who discovers a ‘smart’ drug that allows him to become a perfect version of himself, starred Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro. A small-screen adaptation will be exec produced by Cooper for National Geographic.
Act Of Valor, which follows operatives tasked with the recovery and medical treatment of personnel in humanitarian and combat environments, is another Nat Geo commission. Both shows are likely to be sold through newly launched international film sales division Relativity Foreign.
“We had so much data on these films. I recognised that we can take our movie model - and that’s the greatest pilot - and take that into television,” said Kavanaugh. “I know exactly what the fans like and why they like it, and we need to take this right to series.
“It’s a Moneyball approach to creating television; it’s a much more accurate model. What was always hard in scripted TV was the unlimited risk reward, so you have to hope you can hit it out of the park. With this, we have a built-in audience. We know what they want and we know it won’t be a failure.”
Relativity’s move will see it grow its TV slate and, importantly, reap rewards from international sales rather than selling world distribution rights to third parties.
The company has been successful in unscripted television, producing more than 30 series for 20 networks, including Catfish for US network MTV. While Catfish grossed just $242,000 at the box office worldwide, outside of the US it was an international TV sales hit for Viacom International Media Networks.
“We spent many years looking at the right model to get into scripted television. There’s a lot of people who have come into television and deficit-financed shows, so we looked at the right model to get into this business,” Kavanaugh explained.
He added that he is taking a global approach to reversioning the movies and will look at international distribution opportunities. “When I go to meetings in Geneva or London, people love it [Limitless and Act Of Valor] and tell me these are very global shows,” he said.