As President of Warner Bros. Pictures, Jeff Robinov oversaw hit movies such as “Gravity,” “Argo” and billion dollar franchises like "Batman,""The Hangover, and “Harry Potter.”
He won the studio the Best Picture Oscar for "Argo" from Ben Affleck, a filmmaker he brought to Warner Bros. along with Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio, Baz Luhrmann, Todd Phillips, Zack Snyder, and many others. He has even been called "The man who saved Warner Bros."
So it was a surprise to many when Robinov, 55, left Warners this summer — after 15 years at the studio and at the height of his success — after the exec felt he was passed over for the studio's CEO position, which went to his former friend, Kevin Tsujihara. Some called it a "calamitous exit."
Since his departure, Robinov has been working on "raising several hundred million dollars in financing for a company that will finance and produce movies for Sony," several individuals with knowledge of his plans tell The Wrap.
Robinov has reportedly been in talks with the Huayi Brothers, a leading Chinese film production company, and industrialist billionaire Len Blavatnik.
Clearly, this is no small fundraise. As The Wrap reports:
The former Warners Bros. film chief is looking to raise around $300 million in equity, according to knowledgeable individuals: One put the sum at $350 million in equity, but others say the figure will end up closer to $300 million. He is raising a similar sum in debt, meaning that he should have more than half a billion at his disposal.
Not only would it be a good deal for Robinov, but also for partner Sony, as the studio has been looking for co-financiers to mitigate the risk of making expensive movies.
As Variety explains, "Amid an increasingly strained economic climate in which production and marketing costs continue to rise, studios are reducing the number of films they bankroll on their own. Partnering up with a self-funded production company such as Robinov’s helps mitigate some of that risk."