Exact details of the this massive deal were not disclosed at time of writing. However, if it follows the parameters of recent co-financing equity structures with Hollywood, then more than $1bn in fresh money could end up being invested in studio productions via a revolving credit line from Citigroup. Whatever the final amount, this is set to be the single largest investment pool yet of outside money in Hollywood.
But the money does not stop there. There is speculation too that a second Relativity-Citigroup deal, covering 45 films from another studio could also be in the works - further proof that the equity tap is still gushing over the film sector, despite some high-profile flops, and that the banking sector itself is warming to the film industry as a whole.
Relativity Media Holdings I, a new wholly-subsidiary created by Relativity Media as the financing vehicle for this arrangement, will own 100% of the equity and will control the film selection and monitoring.
The new venture is said to incorporate several innovative features that will allow Relativity to review broad studio slates and select films that fit its criteria. The implication is that Relativity will be able to cherry-pick some of the sure-fire sequels and franchise films that the studios have traditionally kept all for themselves, rather than share in the spoils with outside co-financiers.
'Relativity Media Holdings I is a major achievement not only in its potential scope, but also in that it represents what we consider the first transaction of its type,' Kavanaugh said, praising the 'foresight and professionalism' of his Citigroup partners.
To date Relativity has structured more than $4.2bn in production slate financings, most recently on the current releases Smokin' Aces, The Pursuit Of Happyness, The Holiday and Catch And Release, and the 2006 hit comedy Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby. Other investments include The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift; Monster House; RV; and Gridiron Gang.
Films financed by Relativity that are currently in production include James Mangold's 3:10 To Yuma starring Russell Crowe and Christian
Bale; The Untitled J&J Project, starring Jackie Chan and Jet Li; a remake of The Untouchables and Mr Brooks.
Relativity's Ryan Kavanaugh is one ofthe featured speakers at Screen International's FINANCING FILMS INAMERICA conference in London on March 20th.