EXCLUSIVE: Brett Ratner and Sierra Pictures chief Nick Meyer have formed White Knuckle Pictures, a company that will develop and finance moderately priced action films that will be creatively godfathered by Ratner.
Each film will be set up through an indie finance model, with the goal of creating intellectual property ownership. Meyer, the former Paramount Vantage chief who formed Sierra last summer with Marc Schaberg, will handle international and domestic distribution deals for pictures that are expected to cost less than $50 million. The hope is to generate two to three films per year.
The venture was an outgrowth of Ratner and Meyer’s involvement in the Mother’s Day remake which Ratner produced and Sierra sold overseas. They began talking about films they liked and came up with a strategy to make action films that follow the template of Taken, a contained action thriller that cost $30 million. Ratner hopes the shingle gives him the opportunity to godfather action fare the way that Sam Raimi does horror with Ghost House.
Announcing a film shingle is the easy part, Both Ratner and Meyer said they are already seeing scripts as word gets around about White Knuckle, and feel there is a real niche to be filled with price-conscious actioners.
“It is a genre I know really well, and I’ve cultivated relationships with a lot of filmmakers who struggle to get these kinds of movies made in the current climate,” Ratner said. “The films can encompass a multitude of things like action, thrills and humor, but you want the audience to be on the edge of their seats, with hearts pounding and blood rushing.” Ratner will produce the films and has no commitment to direct,. He might anyway. He has long been attached to direct a remake of The Boys From Brazil, a film he said would perfectly fit the White Knuckle model.
Rat Entertainment exec John Cheng, who coined the company name, will be the point man for script submissions.
White Knuckle becomes another piece of business for Sierra Pictures. Meyer, who started out repping Sidney Kimmel’s slate, is doing the same for Incentive Filmed Entertainment, and he is repping individual films that included the Sundance pictures Hesher and Sympathy for Delicious.
Ratner will next direct Tower Heist for Imagine Entertainment and Universal and his Rat Entertainment continues to have a development and production financing deal with Reliance Big Entertainment. Ratner became executive producer of the Sundance docu Catfish, which was acquired for distribution by Rogue Films, and he’s producing the Seth Gordon-directed Horrible Bosses for New Line.