Ryan Kavanaugh Resigns as Relativity Studios CEO (Exclusive)

President Dana Brunetti also out at troubled 12-year-old company

ryan kavanaugh

Ryan Kavanaugh has resigned as chairman and CEO of Relativity Studios.

The high-flying executive recently stepped down from daily oversight of the 12-year-old company, an individual with close knowledge of the situation told TheWrap.

President Dana Brunetti, appointed less than a year ago, has also left to resume his career as a film producer, another knowledgable insider said. Brett Dahl will take over as president of production, a Relativity spokesperson confirmed to TheWrap.

Kavanaugh, long famous in Hollywood for claiming to possess an algorithm that could predict hit movies but whose mixed track record took his company into bankruptcy in July 2015, is expected to keep his seat on the company’s board of directors.

Kavanaugh had been expected to remain in charge of Relativity after its October sale to e-commerce firm YuuZoo — an investment valued at up to $300 million that gave the Singapore-based company a majority stake in roughly two years.

Neither Kavanaugh nor a Relativity spokesperson returned TheWrap’s requests for comment.

Brunetti was out of his job “a long time ago,” according to the second person TheWrap spoke with, but struggled to free himself from his contract until recently.

It’s unclear who will replace both executives. Brunetti had a co-president in Adam Fields, though he was dismissed in September. Kenneth Halsband and Lori Sinanyan are currently handling day-to-day operations, a third individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap.

Brunetti was brought on board in January to stabilize Relativity’s slate with his then-producing partner, actor Kevin Spacey.

The Oscar winner wound up never taking the gig, and Brunetti entered the role following a harrowing bankruptcy saga that saw Kavanaugh rescue his core film operation from the Chapter 11 process as sports, fashion and branding divisions fell to creditors and the successful TV operation was sold off.

Kavanaugh managed to shave off an impressive amount of debt during the bankruptcy process and lure an overseas sale largely over a lucrative but highly contentious output deal with Netflix — in place through 2018 and still the subject of a $1 billion breach-of-contract lawsuit.

Despite its recent loss of the potential Jason Momoa franchise “The Crow” in November, the studio has $200 million in slate financing thanks to a recent pact with Storyscopic Films to focus on global family fare and movies intended to appeal to both China and the U.S.

Immediate priorities in the deal include the animatedAnimal Crackers,” directed by Scott Sava, which will be finished by the end of this year with an all-star voice cast including Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Sylvester Stallone, Danny DeVito, Sir Ian McKellen, Raven-Symoné, Patrick Warburton and Gilbert Gottfried.

The studio also plans to develop sequels to some of its biggest properties, like Henry Cavill’s “Immortals,” “November Man” and “Act of Valor.”

In September, TheWrap attended the premiere of the first Relativity release to hit theaters after 18 months in bankruptcy limbo — the $25 million-budgeted Kristen Wiig-Zach Galifianakis comedy “Masterminds,” which wound up grossing $17.3 million domestically. (Another post-bankruptcy release, “Disappointments Room,” topped out at $2.4 million on a $15 million budget.)

“This is the most emotional premiere for me, and not because the movie was emotional,” Kavanaugh said at the time.

“This marks the 201st Relativity release,” Kavanaugh added. “Hopefully we’ll have a hundred more.”

A Relativity spokesperson provided a statement to TheWrap Wednesday denying any discord between Kavanaugh and Brunetti.

“Dana has transitioned to a production deal with Relativity, but any report that Ryan and he are feuding, or have had any issues, or that there has been any dispute between them is simply not true,” the statement said. “The company, Dana and Ryan agreed that Dana’s greatest value add to the company is to make the movies he wants to, giving him flexibility to make the films he enjoys. Dana remains a large shareholder of Relativity and still has a deal there. Brett Dahl has taken over as President of Production and Dana, Brett and Ryan will be working closely together going forward.”