Previously set for a December 2, 2016 release, Relativity Studios pushed the release date of its Halle Berry thriller “Kidnap” to a March 10, 2017 premiere. The move was announced in November 2016.
With today being March 10th, many are wondering why “Kidnap” isn’t opening in theaters this weekend. A look at its IMDB page no longer lists a specific release day (it did previously); instead it just says 2017, meaning there’s still a chance that it’ll be released in 2017, but at the moment, it doesn’t have a specific day/month.
So what’s going on, as several of you have inquired?
In brief, the parent studio of the film’s distribution company, Relativity Media, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in mid-2015 after lawsuits and missing loan payments. However, in March 2016, the company emerged from the bankruptcy, but still on financially shaky ground, leaving the fate of its unreleased titles (including “Kidnap”) up in the air.
The film was previously scheduled for release on October 9, 2015, but in July 2015 Relativity pushed back the film to February 26, 2016, because the company was facing a financial crisis, before being re-scheduled once again to May 13, 2016, then December 2, 2016, and pulled off the schedule again, to be later slated for March 10, 2017, which is today.
A project that’s been “on the shelf” since 2014, it was acquired by Relativity Studios in the fall of that year, but its release has since been uncertain thanks to the financial woes of the studio’s parent company (Relativity Media). Despite emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March of last year, its future remained uncertain as a Chapter 7 (liquidation) was expected to be filed before the end of 2016, as other studios, like Lionsgate, expressed interest in the company’s 40-plus title library.
As of January of this year (2017), Relativity Media was described as being in “a persistent vegetative state” (per Variety), as insiders at the company said the studio was down to just a handful of employees.
Millions of dollars in debt, a Chapter 7 liquidation of the company becomes even more likely, as its parts may be worth more than the whole. Although most recently, it received a cash infusion via Singapore-based YuuZoo Corporation Limited who bought 33.3% of Relativity Media, with an option to increase its investment to a majority stake over the next 24 months; meaning, YuuZoo may take over the company fully.
What all this means for the unreleased films in Relativity’s library is a mystery at this point. If the company is eventually bought out, then whoever takes it over will obviously determine what happens to the films, including “Kidnap.” So it’s anyone’s guess when the film will be released. It wouldn’t be a surprise if it’s quietly put out on home video – maybe a VOD release first, and then DVD/Blu-ray afterward. But given how long the film has been in Limbo (going on 3 years now), it’s possible that interest in it will continue to dwindle, and when it finally opens, it won’t perform well.
Berry also executive produces the project with her production partner, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, via their 606 Films company, which she launched in early 2014 to produce what she described as “socially conscious” work, in the spirit of the company’s name (after the anti-paparazzi bill that Berry pushed, which California Gov. Jerry Brown signed it into law the same year).
Spanish filmmaker Luis Prieto (“Pusher”) directed “Kidnap,” from a script penned by Knate Gwaltney.
Di Bonaventura Pictures is producer. Lotus Entertainment and Gold Star Films financed the film, as well as exec produced.
A first trailer for “Kidnap” was released last summer; check it out below if you missed it: