Relativity Media chief Ryan Kavanaugh is attempting to step into the void left by the demise of New Line International and is closing long-term partnerships in major territories here.

The network will channel a high-octane slate of commercial fare that currently features new work from Lasse Hallstrom, Keanu Reeves, Jet Li and Tobey Maguire.

Mandate International will service the deals and handle sales in remaining key territories on most of the initial 16 projects and has commenced pre-sales here on the first three.

The initial trio comprises the Nicholas Sparks adaptation Dear John starring Channing Tatum that Lasse Hallstrom will direct and Marty Bowen will produce; sci-fi action title Executive Order 6 with Vin Diesel to be produced by Lawrence Bender and Karen Barber; and the $60m heist thriller Brilliant starring Scarlett Johansson that Sam Bayer will direct in the US in August.

Among the other titles on the slate are the romantic comedy Bloom with Keanu Reeves; action title Afterburn starring Maguire, who will also produce with Neil Moritz; thriller Den Of Thieves to be produced by Mark Canton; and the Wedding Crashers-like comedy Contractors from Walt Becker that Bob Cooper will produce.

The roster includes the black hole epic Origin to be produced by Peter and Alan Riche and family title The Last Starfighter Returns from the 1984 original's director Nick Castle.

Glen Basner's Weinstein Company International is handling pre-sales on the Jet Li action drama Rage And Fury and QED International is selling thriller A Perfect Getaway with Milla Jovovich and Timothy Olyphant. MGM holds US rights.

Kavanaugh will personally produce most of the films, which are being fully funded through Relativity's deal with hedge fund Elliott Associates and pre-sales.

Kavanaugh's gambit follows his earlier association with Mario Kassar and Erick J Feitshan's sales outfit Magnetik.