Former Universal Pictures Chairman David Linde is partnering with Reliance Entertainment to form a new film production and financing company.
Reliance Entertainment is providing the capital to finance the yet unnamed new venture, which has a first look deal with Universal and output deals with several international entities.
Universal's first-look deal calls for it to co-finance each project and distribute them in the United States and other international territories.
Reliance will handle distribution of the films in India.
Tory Metzger is president of production and Adam Rymer chief operating officer for Linde's company.
A spokesperson for Linde declined to release how much money he was able to raise for the new enterprise, but the company plans to make one to three films a year for the next four years.
No word on budgets, but given the studio partnership the films are unlikely to be indies.
“Our company is designed in response to a changing world. We have the opportunity to tap into the global industry’s desire for films while at the same time build a business that offers opportunities to our creative partners by harnessing both traditional means of distribution as well as new technologies, platforms and markets,” Linde said in a statement.
Linde, along with Co-Chairman Marc Shmuger, was ousted from Universal in 2009, after the studio's slate slumped at the box office.
For films that Universal does not distribute domestically, Linde will produce and distribute such films with other motion picture studios.
For Reliance, which also has invested heavily in DreamWorks, the deal with Linde represents further incursions into the U.S. marketplace.
Linde's company has also inked output partnerships with the following:
·Entertainment One (eOne) for Canada, the UK and Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg)
· Italia Films for the Middle East, Greece and Turkey
· Nordisk Film for the Nordic Countries (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland)
· Revolutionary Releasing for Eastern Europe (excluding Russia)
· Sun Distribution for Latin America
· Tele München Group (Germany, Austria along with certain rights in Switzerland, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein)
In his role as COO, Rymer will oversee the company's financial operations. Rymer was most recently SVP of Digital Platforms at Universal Pictures overseeing mobile, gaming, digital cinema, digital distribution and new technology initiatives for the studio. He also served the studio as VP of Business Development and Strategic Planning.
As President of Production Tory Metzger will oversee creative elements of all projects financed and developed by the production entity. Prior to joining Linde, she most recently served as President of MRC film group where she supervised the company’s film slate including "The Adjustment Bureau" and "30 Minutes or Less."
Alan J. Levine and Josh Small of Canon Media Partners structured the company’s business plan, arranged for the equity capital, and provided financial and strategic advice to both Linde and Reliance. Levine will join Linde and Reliance Entertainment’s Amitabh Jhunjhunwala on the new company’s Board.
Linde was represented by attorneys Harold Brown, Thomas Camp and Ken Garrett of Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown and Reliance by Stephen Scharf and Jordan Lichtman of O’Melveny and Myers. David Boyle provided additional legal services for Linde in negotiating the international distribution output deals.