EXCLUSIVE: Plan B, which is coming off Best Picture Oscar winner Moonlight and has had as good a run as any production company in Hollywood over the past few years, is getting ready to move to a new home. It has been based at New Regency, where Plan B made the Best Picture-nominated The Big Short, but that pact expired in January.
We are hearing that Annapurna is the front-runner. Plan B, run by Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, has had multiple suitors, but what a statement move this would be for Megan Ellison’s production-financing-distribution company. Plan B still has a good relationship with Regency; that’s where it will make Ad Astra, the James Gray-directed picture that is expected to be Pitt’s next starring vehicle.
The production company’s output has been nothing short of staggering. Along with The Big Short, its credits range from Best Picture winners 12 Years a Slave and The Departed to World War Z and World War Z 2, the Netflix David Michod-directed Pitt-starrer War Machine, Beautiful Boy, Okja, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and, for television, The Normal Heart. No one is commenting until the move is made, but keep an eye on Annapurna; this is a deal that Ellison wants badly. Plan B is also producing with Gary Sanchez the movie about former Vice President Dick Cheney at Paramount, with Christian Bale to play Cheney, Steve Carell to play former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Amy Adams to play Lynne Cheney. Next up is the James Gray-directed The Lost City of Z.
Annapurna has been very smart in the way it is methodically building the tastemaker company with the addition of seasoned executives and having just beefed up its marketing and distribution teams. It also signed a multi-picture output deal (announced today) with Hulu, the first of its kind for Annapurna. Any deal with Plan B also would be the first of its kind as the company is pushing toward mini-studio status.
The company is also partnered with Boal on the company Page 1, which is completely funded by Annapurna and has a first-look deal. Page 1 is currently developing a 2016 presidential election “political drama” series of between eight and 10 hours. Boal and Ellison are producing the series which we have heard is about Trump.
With the production, marketing and distribution launch of Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal’s Untitled Detroit Project in August, Annapurna will be a bona fide mini-major.
The company, which has gained a reputation as a haven for artists and an eye for picking successful fare, has churned out some of the best product around with films such Bigelow and Boal’s Zero Dark Thirty, David O. Russell’s American Hustle and Spike Jonze’s high-concept film Her. The company has garnered a total of 32 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture noms for those three films. Ellison is also one of only four honorees ever to receive two Best Picture nominations in the same year, with Her and American Hustle in 2014.