Universal Pictures has entered into a first-look production agreement with Dan Lin and his Rideback production banner. Lin has produced films grossing more than $5 billion worldwide, including the successful The LEGO Movie, Stephen King’s It and Sherlock Holmes franchises, as well as Disney’s live-action Aladdin.
The deal seemed inevitable after Universal signed an exclusive five-year deal to the LEGO film rights last April, which Rideback played a big part in launching when those rights were with Warner Bros. Lin and Rideback are currently developing the next movie based on the global LEGO brand
“Dan and his team at Rideback have an exceptional track record producing major franchises, animation, and prestige films,” said Peter Cramer, President, Universal Pictures. “Additionally, with Rideback Ranch, he has created a groundbreaking filmmaking community, and his commitment to cultivating talent across the industry perfectly complements our studio’s own efforts and values. We are thrilled to welcome Dan and Rideback to Universal and look forward to a partnership in the years to come that builds upon his amazing run of success.”
Besides a new LEGO movie, the new first-look deal kicks off with several projects already in development at the studio with details being kept under wraps. Those include a high-concept romance, an adaptation of bestselling novel, and a diverse reboot of a popular Universal film franchise.
“As a 22-year-old kid, I started my entertainment career at Universal and was thrilled to walk the hallowed halls of the Black Tower every day. 25 years later, I’m returning to Universal and feel that same excitement about partnering with Donna, Peter, and the entire Universal film team. As they boldly innovate new approaches to making and distributing movies, we are excited to bring Rideback’s collaborative, filmmaker-focused approach to this new partnership with Universal,” said Lin, founder and CEO of Rideback, who oversees Rideback’s film operations along with Rideback’s President of Film, Jonathan Eirich.
In addition to recent major franchise productions, Rideback produced the lauded Netflix film, The Two Popes, which earned three Oscar® and four Golden Globe nominations, including for Best Picture, Drama. The company is currently in production on the upcoming series Walker for the CW and in pre-production on a live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series for Netflix. Rideback additionally develops series for network, cable and OTT through collaboration-intensive programs such as the Rideback TV Incubator and the Rideback/Thinking Hat Campfire, in which creative voices new to TV development are mentored by experienced showrunners. Rideback also recently produced the FOX series Lethal Weapon, based on the hit feature film franchise.
Rideback is housed within Rideback Ranch, a creative campus located in LA’s Historic Filipinotown. Launched in 2018, Rideback Ranch serves as a creative hub for writers, filmmakers and other creators and is also home to world class production companies such as David Ayer’s Cedar Park Entertainment, Margot Robbie’s LuckyChap Entertainment, animation studio Animal Logic, and Warner Animation Group.
Prior to launching Rideback in 2008, Lin served as Senior Vice President of Production for Warner Bros. Pictures, where he oversaw the development and production of such films as Martin Scorsese’s Academy Award®-winning drama The Departed. Lin serves on PGA’s National Board of Directors and on the Board of Directors of several non-profit organizations, including the Evolve Entertainment Fund, the Good Shepherd Center for Homeless Women and Children, and the I Dream of Fish Foundation.