Will Packer Productions (WPP) announced today that it has named James F. Lopez President.
In his promotion, Lopez will continue to grow and oversee all aspects of film production, as well as lead efforts to expand & diversify the company’s slate. Previously, Lopez was Head of Motion Pictures at Packer’s WPM, where he was responsible for developing and overseeing production on all film projects through the company’s first look deal with Universal Pictures. In total, Packer and Lopez’s shared film credits have reaped just over half billion at the global box office ($528.8M).
“James and I have already produced seven successful films in three years since he joined the company; I’m so thrilled to announce his new role as President of Production,” said founder, Will Packer. “Since 2010, I have witnessed his tenacity and unstoppable savviness to make things happen. I look forward to our upcoming endeavors and to continuing to bring standout entertainment to audiences.”
Lopez tells Deadline exclusively, “I’m extremely honored and excited to continue my partnership with Will Packer. We started working together when I was an executive at Screen Gems eights years ago in 2010. We’ve done 12 movies together and we’re on an incredible run. I look forward to help taking the company to greater heights. He’s shown a total confidence in me, and I couldn’t ask for more.”
Lopez’s production credits include the Gabrielle Union thriller Breaking In as well as Universal’s hit R-rated comedy from last year Girls Trip which made over $140M WW and shot Tiffany Haddish to marquee status. Much like Girls Trip was a bright spot for comedies at the box office last year, Night School, which Lopez is an EP on, is bound to rep a high for the genre at the domestic box office since Girls Trip with a projected opening that’s north of $30M. The Kevin Hart-Tiffany Haddish movie opens on Sept. 28.
Meanwhile, regarding Girls Trip 2, the sequel is still in talks, but there’s no greenlight yet at Universal. Tracy Oliver and Kenya Barris are expected to return as screenwriters, but a plot is still being hammered out. Talks with the cast returning are ongoing Deadline has learned. While Little, Jacob’s Ladder and What Men What are part of the Packer 2019 production slate, the company plans to put more projects in the pipeline for 2020 release by the end of this year.
The Kevin Hart On the Run in Universal remains in development as Tim Story, the action comedy’s director, works with Eddie Murphy on New Line’s reboot of Grump Old Men.
Also in development at Universal from Will Packer Productions, is The Photograph, by Stella Meghie. Pic is billed as the Love Jones for this generation mixed with The Notebook. Meghie is set to direct and currently doing a rewrite.
Other projects in the works, Deadline has learned exclusively, but not greenlit yet include the comedy musical Praise Thisfrom Jana Savage, Brandon Broussard and Hudson Obayuwana (the writing team collectively known as Murder Ink) and The Oracle with Daniel di Grado attached to direct and Michael Ross aboard to write. Both storylines are being kept under wraps.
Prior to joining Will Packer Productions, Lopez was SVP of Production at Screen Gems where he oversaw Think Like A Man, About Last Night, Think Like A Man Too, The Wedding Ringer, The Perfect Guy and When The Bough Breaks for the studio.