EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has set Gary Sanchez Productions and sister label Gloria Sanchez into a new three-year first look feature deal. Gary Sanchez Productions is led by principals Will Ferrell and Adam McKay with producer Jessica Elbaum heading Gloria Sanchez.
This comes as Paramount percolates the Demetri Martin scripted Will, and the English language remake of the German comedy Toni Erdmann, with Lisa Cholodenko to direct a vehicle for Kristen Wiig.
Ferrell and McKay once had a deal under the prior regime at Paramount but left the studio. Bringing them back is a coup for chairman Jim Gianopulos and Paramount Motion Picture Group president Wyck Godfrey. Gary Sanchez Productions films have grossed almost $1 billion worldwide for Paramount. That includes Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters ($226M), Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues ($173M), the Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg Daddy’s Home ($242M) and Daddy’s Home 2 ($180M) and The Big Short, the McKay-directed film that grossed $133M and got five Oscar nominations and won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar that McKay shared with Charles Randolph.
Paramount put in development the McKay-directed Back Seat, the film that stars Christian Bale as former veep Dick Cheney. But when Paramount was retooling, the studio put that in turnaround over budget, and producer Plan B brought it to Annapurna when Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner moved their company to a deal there. It will make noise in Oscar season.
“Adam and Will are among the most influential and innovative comedic minds of our time, and we couldn’t be happier to welcome back the strong partnership that the studio enjoyed with them in the past and will continue to nurture and grow for years to come,” says Wyck Godfrey, President of Paramount’s Motion Picture Group. “This is truly a dream collaboration, and we look forward to continuing to share the incredible film and television content created through this alliance with audiences worldwide.”
Said McKay: “We’ve had a lot of success at Paramount in the past. In fact, our very first deal was there many years ago. So, when Jim and Wyck took over and made it clear they were serious about making movies, all kinds of movies, we knew it was time to go back. Plus, we genuinely like a lot of the people who work at Paramount. Except that one guy with frizzy hair who works in the gift shop. He gives me the creeps.”
Ferrell said the studio “has been a great home to us over the years. We couldn’t think of a better fit for Gary and Gloria Sanchez. To say we are excited is an understatement. But I’m going to say it again. WE ARE EXCITED!!! EXCITEMENT!!! Can you feel it???”
Gary Sanchez’ key execs/producers are Kevin Messick, whose recent credits include the Netflix pic Ibiza, the HBO series Succession, and the Cheney film, and Chris Henchy, the writer/producer whose Gary Sanchez credits include The Other Guys and The Campaign, as well as Daddy’s Home and Daddy’s Home 2. Robyn Wholey handles day-to-day operations, Owen Burke (Comedy Central’s Drunk History) heads up television and Betsy Koch serves as a producer.