UNIVERSAL PICTURES TO HANDLE DISTRIBUTION OF FILM CONTENT WORLDWIDE WITH
ENTERTAINMENT ONE DISTRIBUTING IN ITS TERRITORIES
ENTERTAINMENT ONE TO ALSO HANDLE INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION OF TELEVISION CONTENT
With Executive Team, Distribution and Financing in Place, New Independent Studio will Develop and Produce Original Content for all Platforms
LOS ANGELES, CA – May 17, 2017 – Industry veteran Brad Weston, with backing from global independent studio Entertainment One (eOne), has launched MAKEREADY, a new global content creation company. MAKEREADY will develop and produce original feature films and high-end television for premium cable, OTT and emerging platforms on a worldwide basis. Set to release two pictures annually beginning next year, Universal Pictures is committed to handling worldwide theatrical marketing and distribution for the company’s feature films, with eOne handling theatrical distribution across its footprint including Canada, the UK, Australia/New Zealand, Benelux and Spain. eOne, the lead investor in MAKEREADY, will also handle international distribution of all television content from MAKEREADY. JPMorgan Chase will lead the production facility for the new enterprise, which is fully funded for the development and financing of premium content.
Said Weston: “I am lucky to have Universal and eOne as partners. I have always admired everything my longtime friend Donna Langley has done. We share similar business philosophies and sensibilities. Combining our easy relationship with their brilliant marketing, Universal is a comfortable and natural fit. In eOne, I’ve found an ambitious global likeminded partner who shares my passion for great content. I believe that the confidence that Darren Throop and the eOne team have shown in me and MAKEREADY will prove to be the foundation for a long and successful future together.”
Said Darren Throop, CEO, Entertainment One: “We are thrilled to support Brad on the launch of his new company. We have always been impressed by his incredible track record of delivering compelling content that is as commercially successful as it is award-worthy, and we are excited to be able to deliver that content to audiences around the world.”
Said Donna Langley, Chairman, Universal Pictures: “Brad’s filmmaker-driven approach and proven track record for delivering both prestigious and commercial films make him a perfect fit for the studio, and we look forward to a long and successful relationship.”
Weston, who serves as MAKEREADY’s Chief Executive Officer, formed the company to build an independent studio focused on deep partnerships with content creators, providing them with the support and resources to develop and produce creative-driven projects. Pam Abdy will head MAKEREADY’s executive team, alongside the company’s soon-to-be announced television and digital executives.
Headquartered in Culver City, MAKEREADY currently has several projects in various stages of development including “Saigon,” a television series from Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson’s Appian Way and writer David James Kelly. “Saigon” marks Appian Way’s continued collaboration with Kelly as they are currently working together on “Robin Hood” which will wrap production this month in Paris, France. The series would also reunite Weston with Appian following the tremendous success they shared on “The Revenant.” Abdy landed the recent New York Times bestselling novel “They Can’t Kill Us All” which chronicles the formation of the Black Lives Matter movement and is being developed as a limited series. The company is also developing a series based on the Boom! graphic comic “Old City Blues” with Hollywood Black List screenwriter Arash Amel attached and a genuine and experiential series about late teens and twenty-year-olds with Chloë Grace Moretz executive producing.
Having worked for over 30 years in the entertainment business, Weston has presided over both major and independent studios. He most recently served as president and chief executive officer of New Regency, where in just five years, he led the company to a remarkable 34 Academy Award® nominations and 12 wins, including two Best Picture Oscars, for films including “The Revenant,” “Birdman,” “Gone Girl,” “12 Years a Slave” and “The Big Short.” Prior to joining New Regency, Weston served as president of production for Paramount Pictures where he was responsible for films including “Star Trek,” “Cloverfield,” “The Fighter,” “Shutter Island,” “GI Joe,” and “Rango.”
“I learned a long time ago in this business, that it’s all about the talent, and that’s never been more true than it is today,” said Weston. “Assembling the best filmmakers, show runners, writers and actors is crucial in order to break through the noise and grab people with something truly bold and original. The only way to make that impact is to collaborate with people with singular visions and that are strong enough to execute. At Regency, our mandate was to work with great directors whose films should be made independently but also warranted worldwide studio distribution. That proved to work out really well, and so with MAKEREADY it will be that same approach applied to film, television, and digital content.”
Abdy most recently served as president of production for New Regency, working closely with Weston on “The Revenant” and “The Big Short” among others. Prior to New Regency, she served as president of Scott Stuber’s Bluegrass Films where she produced films including “Identity Thief” and “Endless Love.” She previously served as executive vice president of Paramount Pictures. Abdy also produced the award-winning film “Garden State.”
“I am incredibly excited to have Pam on board, she is a terrific executive, a great and trusted friend who I have enjoyed tremendous success with over 13 years working together, and there is no one I would rather build this new venture with than her,” said Weston.
Evolution Media, a merchant bank focused on the media and sports industries, orchestrated the deal. Weston is represented by Latham & Watkins LLP and eOne by Mayer Brown LLP and in-house counsel.
About Entertainment One
Entertainment One Ltd. (LSE:ETO) is a global independent studio that specializes in the development, acquisition, production, financing, distribution and sales of entertainment content. The Company’s diversified expertise spans across film, television and music production and sales, family programming, merchandising and licensing, and digital content. Through its global reach and expansive scale, powered by deep local market knowledge, the Company delivers the best content to the world.
Entertainment One’s robust network includes film and television studio The Mark Gordon Company; content creation venture Amblin Partners with Steven Spielberg, DreamWorks Studios, Participant Media, and Reliance Entertainment; leading feature film production and global sales company Sierra Pictures; unscripted television production company Renegade 83; world-class music labels Dualtone Music Group and Last Gang; and award-winning digital agency Secret Location.
The Company’s rights library is exploited across all media formats and includes more than 100,000 hours of film and television content and approximately 40,000 music tracks.
About Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures is a division of Universal Studios (www.universalstudios.com). Universal Studios is part of NBCUniversal. NBCUniversal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group and world-renowned theme parks. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.
MAKEREADY is a premier global independent film, TV and digital branded entertainment content studio, led by industry veteran and long-time studio executive Brad Weston, whose credits include “The Revenant,” “Birdman,” “Gone Girl,” “12 Years a Slave” and “The Big Short” among others, which have garnered 34 Academy Award® nominations and 12 wins.
With a global audience in mind and driven by an ambitious production program, the company develops, finances and produces original feature films and television for premium cable, OTT and emerging platforms as well as digital branded content for alternative distribution platforms.
Focused on content creators, MAKEREADY was formed by Weston in partnership with lead investor Entertainment One (eOne), and with Universal Pictures handling global distribution for the company’s feature films with eOne.