EXCLUSIVE: So, what is happening with Paramount and Plan B, the production shingle run by Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner? We can report definitively that the company is moving to a new 3-year pact with New Regency and RatPac partners James Packer and Brett Ratner. This new marriage, which starts when the Plan B deal at Paramount expires at month’s end, comes after New Regency co-financed the Oscar contender 12 Years A Slave, and they are in postproduction on True Story, the film directed by Rupert Goold, with James Franco and Jonah Hill starring. Plan B has five projects percolating at New Regency, Arnon Milchan has a strong relationship with Pitt that goes all the way back to Fight Club, and Weston has a strong relationship with Pitt and Gardner from the New Regency business and when Weston ran production at Paramount. Those projects include Black Hole, The Operators and Big Bucks.
We’re told that this move is not acrimonious and that the relationship is fine between the Brads, as in Brad Pitt and Paramount chief Brad Grey. In fact, they completed their biggest film, World War Z — it was the highest-grossing film in Pitt’s career, though it’s unclear how profitable it was because of the high cost of re-shooting — and they are starting progress on a sequel that Juan Antonio Bayona directing. But the feeling was the Plan B label fit better with New Regency after the collaboration on 12 Years A Slave and so many other projects.
The move happens shortly after Pirates of the Caribbean producer Jerry Bruckheimer took residence at Paramount in a first-look deal he moves to from Disney. He joins Lorenzo di Bonaventura and David Ellison’s Skydance and JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot at the studio. Paramount doesn’t make a ton of movies, and a lot of Plan B’s projects languished. There should be more opportunity to get movies made in this deal, where Regency and RatPac go 50/50 on Plan B-developed projects. New Regency had a distribution deal with Fox. The way it works is, New Regency and RatPac finance future films from Plan B, and RatPac has the opportunity to co-finance the projects that Plan B currently has with New Regency.
New Regency sees this as a coup, a next step for a financier/producer establishing itself with tastemaker fare.
“Our company is built on working with the best talent in the business,” said Regency president/CEO Weston. “By bringing Plan B, with their solid filmmaker relationships and stellar pool of talent, into the fold with RatPac, we are doing just that.”
Said Plan B in a statement: “There are very few partners in this business who are able to balance artistic integrity with commercial viability. Working hand in hand with New Regency and RatPac, we feel we have found the perfect fit.”
This is another major move for Packer and Ratner, who recently became part of a consortium to co-finance Warner Bros’ slates of films. “Plan B has become a consistent supplier of top-tier material and talent,” Packer and Ratner said in a statement. “As a new company, for us to be able to partner with Arnon and his team at New Regency on this deal, it gives us a great jump-start for what we are trying to accomplish.”
Pitt formed the Plan B label with his ex Jennifer Aniston and Grey when the latter ran Brillstein Grey before taking the top job at Paramount. Pitt brought his shingle to Paramount. As a production label, Plan B has always been a book-savvy acquirer of tasteful material that has attracted strong filmmakers. The films it has made include Kick-Ass and its sequel, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Eat Pray Love, The Tree Of Life and Killing Them Softly. Pitt has starred in some of these. There is a plethora of development that includes the Paramount-based Lost City Of Z, which has James Gray directing and Benedict Cumberbatch starring.
CAA reps Pitt and Plan B.