Kavanaugh in 2013
|Born||Ryan Colin Kavanaugh
December 4, 1974 (age 40)
Los Angeles, California
|Education||B.A. University of California Santa Barbara|
|Occupation||CEO of Relativity Media, financier|
|Known for||Moneyball approach to film finance, philanthropy, wealth|
|Net worth||US$1.0 billion (March 2013)|
|Spouse(s)||Britta Lazenga (2011-2014; divorced)|
Ryan Colin Kavanaugh (born December 4, 1974) is an American film producer and film financier. He is the founder and current CEO of Relativity Media. Through Relativity, he has financed more than 200 films representing more than $17 billion in revenue (earning the nickname "Billion Dollar Producer"). He is credited as of April 19, 2014 as the producer of 61 films and known for creating a new "Moneyball" model of film finance.
He was named by Variety as 2011's "Showman of the Year" and was #22 on the Fortune "40 Under 40" list. He was #19 on the Forbes 2013 list of youngest billionaires, and he entered an investment partnership with Ron Burkle. He is active in philanthropy and was named a Hollywood Humanitarian by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Kavanaugh was born to a Jewish family in Los Angeles, California, and raised in Brentwood. His mother, Leslie Levin, is a real estate broker, and his father, Jack Konitz, a dentist turned businessman, was born in Germany; Jack later changed his surname to Kavanaugh before his son's birth. After attending UCLA, Kavanaugh founded a small venture capital firm. The firm struggled in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and resulting market downturn and was eventually wound up.
Kavanaugh founded Relativity Media after briefly serving as a consultant to other small businesses and venture capitalists. In the late 1990s, he asked his father for a $50,000 loan to start his own hedge fund; his father declined, but this did not dissuade Ryan, whose aim was to use mathematical tools to connect financing and movie projects in a more efficient manner than traditional Hollywood finance. At Relativity, he created what is now known as "the model", a monte carlo model designed to predict the odds of a given film being successful. No film at Relativity is given a green light unless the model predicts a high probability of profitability. During Relativity’s first year of operation, Kavanaugh executed what was considered to be an innovative finance deal for Marvel Studios which led them to make the successful Iron Man franchise. Kavanaugh went on to structure business deals for such companies as: Sony, Universal, Warner Brothers, among many others. Kavanaugh has acquired a number of assets, including the marketing and distribution operations of John Malone's Liberty Media/Starz film unit Overture Films, and reaching a first of its kind TV pay deal with Netflix.
Kavanaugh forged a marketing, promotional, and production partnership with Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Mobile and Virgin Produced, in which Relativity owns a stake. Kavanaugh also brokered an innovative cross-platform marketing partnership with Clear Channel Radio, the media company with the most reach in the United States. He was also instrumental in launching Relativity's historic partnership with China's Huaxia Film Distribution Co. Ltd. to become equal partners in Sky Land Entertainment with private-equity firm SAIF Partners and IDG China Media to handle production and distribution of films in China and U.S. This marks the first strategic alliance between a Hollywood film production entity and a Chinese government-sponsored company.
Relativity has produced, distributed, and/or structured financing for more than 200 motion pictures, generating more than $17 billion in worldwide box office revenue and earning 60 Oscar nominations. In 2012, Kavanaugh brokered a deal in which billionaire Ron Burkle will partner with Relativity and invest $800 million in the company. As Chairman and the largest shareholder, Kavanaugh will retain control of Relativity and control the majority of the board of directors of Relativity.
In 2013, Relativity Media expanded into television (Relativity Television), Sports Management (Relativity Sports) and Digital Content (Relativity Digital), with the aim of leverage divisions to create a global media company.
Kavanaugh led a group acquiring FreeHand, a premium dog food manufacturer best known for its work rescuing homeless dogs. He intends to integrate FreeHand into the activities of Relativity, including a TV series based around building a dog food company and increased awareness of dog rescue. He invested $25 million in luxury leather maker nuMobilia in 2012, which was later liquidated in bankruptcy court in June 2013. Kavanaugh is a significant investor in music game creator BandFuse: Rock Legends.
Kavanaugh has produced such films as Immortals, Limitless, The Fighter, Mirror Mirror, Safe Haven, and Beyond the Lights. He executive produced The Social Network, which received eight Oscar nominations. His other films include Mamma Mia!, 3:10 to Yuma, Grown Ups and Dear John. He lost his bid for an Academy film credit as producer of The Fighter.[why?] [clarification needed]
Ironically, despite Kavaugh's "Moneyball" approach to film making, he turned down a chance to invest in the actual movie Moneyball, citing the model's prediction that sports movies are often commercial failures.
Honors and awards
Kavanaugh was honored with the 2009 Hollywood Producer of the Year Award at the 13th Annual Hollywood Awards Gala and Daily Variety published a special issue honoring Kavanaugh as a "Billion Dollar Producer". In 2010, The Hollywood Reporter bestowed the Leadership Award to Kavanaugh and the Daily Reporter dedicated a special issue in his honor as a "Billion Dollar Producer". He was named Variety's Showman of the Year, 2011.
Kavanaugh was 21st on Fortune's 40 Under 40 Most Influential People in Business in 2010 and in Forbes’ Future 400: Ones To Watch. He was named a "Top Thinker" by Esquire. He also serves on the boards of other charitable foundations such as Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors and as Chairman of The Art of Elysium.
He grew up in Brentwood, California where he attended Brentwood High School, and currently resides in Malibu. In 2011, Kavanaugh married ballet dancer Britta Lazenga. They divorced in 2014. The bachelor party was thrown by actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Bradley Cooper.
Kavanaugh recently became involved in dog rescue through his acquisition of FreeHand, saying that "We hope this will become a staple of Hollywood, and if you are not involved in this, then you’re not promoting social good amongst the animal world." He has been recognized for his charitable work by organizations including Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, whose Board of Governors honored him as the sole winner of the 2010 Hollywood Humanitarian Award; the Sheriff’s Youth Foundation, which presented him with its Community Champion Award in recognition of his outstanding dedication to inner-city young people; and by First Star for his dedication to improving life for child victims of abuse and neglect.
Kavanaugh was honored with the 2011 Entertainment Industry Award by the Anti-Defamation League, a group committed to fighting anti-Semitism and bigotry of all kinds. The award is given to individuals who demonstrate leadership and extraordinary innovation in the entertainment industry. Kavanaugh serves as the Chairman of the Board for The Art of Elysium, an organization that encourages actors, artists and musicians to voluntarily dedicate their time and talent to children who are battling serious medical conditions.
Hacking of Sony accounts in late 2014 revealed that Kavanaugh had sent an email to actresses including Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson, telling them to join him in taking action against what he saw as increased antisemitism which could end up as "another Hollacast" [sic].
- "Do you know how many people saw The Assassination of Jesse James? You and seven other people. Paul Blart grossed nearly $200 million worldwide. I'll take Paul Blart all day, every day."
- "Giving actors $20 million for a movie that loses money is like giving bonuses to the CEOs of bankrupt companies."
- "Everything has to run on the principle of profit. We'll never let creative decisions rule our business decisions. If it doesn't fit the model, it doesn't get done."
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