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Round-Up: Relativity and Rogue in Business

Yea, though I am far away, feel the need to note the newsworthy development of Relativity, run by Ryan Kavanaugh, being close to buying Universal’s Rogue Pictures, the genre division started in 2004, for $150 million.

What does this mean for genre studios within the major movie companies? In today’s L.A. Times, Patrick Goldstein questions whether this pending deal is a bad omen for Focus Features, the speciality division that traditionally puts out Oscar-winning movies, but that was the parent of Rogue.

Patrick observes: “If Universal is willing to dump Focus’ genre arm, the most consistently commercial underpinning of its specialty division, then surely it is ready to put the squeeze on Focus itself.” He predicts Universal will remain committed until after the release of the anticipated ‘Milk,’ announcing changes after Oscar season.

We all know that specialty divisions are in trouble and that in the current climate some indie labels are perilously close to closing, just as Warner Independent did earlier this year.