After several months of negotiations, Universal has closed its deal to sell genre-mill Rogue Pictures to the studio's close financing partners at Relativity Media.
Relativity paid $150 million for the specialty arm and its library, a nifty pick-up featuring acquisitions like Shaun of the Dead and in-house productions including Assault on Precinct 13; Rogue has manufactured roughly three low-budget projects since 2004, led last year by the sleeper hit The Strangers. But Universal has bigger, literally better things to do in these depressive times — namely, keep its art-house label Focus Features in fighting trim for 2009 and get the hell away from Rogue's forthcoming Castlevania adaptation. Uni will, however, continue to release Rogue films for a discounted distribution fee of 10%, starting Friday with The Unborn.
One forecast says this kind of New Economy horse-trading that could actually make films better, and we totally agree: Less money, more accountability, better movies. Not to mention, it's great fun to watch brassy Relativity boss Ryan Kavanaugh at the wheel of his various entrepreneurial toys. Figuratively speaking, of course.