Santa Monica, CA (May 1, 2012) — Longtime partners Joe Drake and Nathan Kahane have launched Good Universe, a new full-service motion picture financing, production and global sales company. The new company — which kicks off its upcoming slate with films in Cannes —already has the infrastructure and resources to develop, package, produce and fully finance its movies. The launch comes just as the successful collaborators transition out of Lionsgate where Drake served as the president of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group and Kahane as the president of Mandate Pictures.
Good Universe opens its doors fully staffed and with films from Mandate’s development slate, in which Good Universe and Lionsgate are partnered. Drake and Kahane will aggressively look to acquire other material in three specific areas: bigger multi-quadrant properties with true franchise potential, expanding the Ghost House Pictures brand with a reinvestment and increased focus on the horror genre, and a focus on the kinds of movies that defined the Mandate brand—singular, original voices with universal stories to tell such as Juno, the Harold & Kumar series and 50/50. Future franchises will be modeled on Drake’s franchise-building strategy at Lionsgate that resulted in The Expendables and global box office juggernaut The Hunger Games.
Drake and Kahane arrive in Cannes later this month prepared to launch Good Universe’s global sales operation, which the former will oversee, and present their first two films, Oldboy and Last Vegas. Oldboy, to be directed by Spike Lee this September, is a remake of the internationally acclaimed South Korean film and will star Josh Brolin, Lizzie Olsen and Sharlto Copley. Last Vegas, a comedy directed by Jon Turteltaub and a cast including Michael Douglas.
Good Universe will also work with Lionsgate to complete a number of Mandate pictures currently in production — including the highly anticipated re-teaming of The Devil Wears Prada duo—director David Frankel and actress Meryl Streep — in Hope Springs, also starring Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell, to be released by Sony Pictures this August. Other projects include the Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg feature directorial debut from an original comedy they wrote, The End of the World, and Ghost House Pictures’ remake of Evil Dead. Good Universe will also provide certain management and production services on a number of Mandate library properties.
“Nathan and I are excited to continue and evolve the partnership we first forged nearly 10 years ago,” said Drake. “We take great pride supporting filmmakers and the creative process, and are energized to expand our already successful business model for films in a wide variety of genres. We have seen phenomenal success at both Lionsgate and Mandate and are thrilled to realize it again with Good Universe by building on our collective relationships and experiences.”
Kahane added, “Our goal with the new independent venture is to produce and finance quality commercial entertainment and serve as a value incubator for content creators, authors and idea generators. Audiences want to see good movies, the kind of breakout original material that we will bring to the marketplace.”
Drake and Kahane’s decade-long partnership started in 2003, when they founded Mandate Pictures generating global box-office success with films such as Juno, the $227 million worldwide box office success which garnered a host of accolades including an Academy Award® for Best Original Screenplay and three additional Oscar® nominations; Marc Forster’s critical darling Stranger Than Fiction; and the Harold & Kumar franchise.
Just as Drake and Kahane were founding Mandate in 2003, they partnered with Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert on Ghost House Pictures, a production label dedicated to the financing, development and release of films in the horror thriller genre. The company had five #1 films out of the gate, including the 2004 remake of The Grudge, which grossed more than $188 million worldwide. Drake and Kahane remain partners in Ghost House Pictures.
In 2007, the partners sold Mandate to Lionsgate and continued to operate it as an autonomous brand. As president of Mandate, Kahane moved the company forward with hits including the Golden Globe®-nominated and Independent Spirit Award-winning comedy 50/50.
Following the acquisition of Mandate, Drake transitioned into his role at Lionsgate overseeing all areas of the company’s theatrical production, distribution, marketing, acquisition and international theatrical operations, overseeing hits including The Lincoln Lawyer, The Expendables and Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, which won two Academy Awards®. Drake exited Lionsgate having positioned it for its game-changing year with the release of The Hunger Games, which Drake acquired and nurtured. The film has made more than $600 million worldwide thus far. Lionsgate’s total global box office under Drake’s management exceeds $3 billion.
Before their partnership began, Drake served as president of Lionsgate International and Kahane was EVP of The Canton Company, Mark Canton’s Warner Bros-based production company.
'Hunger Games' Joe Drake Starts New Film Label With Mandate Partner Nathan Kahane
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