Former MGM Co-President of Production Adam Rosenberg has partnered with Oscar winner Rodney Rothman (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) to launch Modern Magic, a media company focused on creating “event entertainment” for the 21st-century audience, across animation and live-action.
At Modern Magic, Rosenberg and Rothman will look for new ways to captivate a global audience, which moves fluidly between mediums, genres, platforms and creators of all kinds. The pair will partner with a diverse group of creatives, ranging from world-class artists, writers, directors, musicians, and technicians to the up-and-coming class of breakthrough creatives, with 20 projects (across film and TV) already in various stages of development.
Some are based on original concepts; others will emerge from high-profile IP. Projects currently in development include:
- An original animated feature inspired by the music of the late rapper Juice WRLD (the most streamed artist on Spotify in the United States in 2020 and #4 globally), to be scripted by Jaboukie Young-White (The Daily Show). Modern Magic will produce in conjunction with executive producers John Janick, Steve Berman and Tony Seyler on behalf of Interscope Films, and with Carmela Wallace, Peter Jideonwo and Lil Bibby representing Juice WRLD’s estate.
- Nuevo Rico, an animated feature based on the SXSW award-winning short film by Kris Mercado. In the film, set in a psychedelic future version of Puerto Rico, a brother and sister stumble upon a secret that propels them to Reggaetón stardom. They soon discover, though, that their newfound fame comes at a deep price.
- An offbeat, subversive, live-action feature (in the action-comedy genre) that Quinta Brunson (Abbott Elementary, A Black Lady Sketch Show) is currently scripting for Sony Pictures.
“When it comes to animation, we don’t see ourselves as fortune tellers. We see ourselves as recognizing where we already are,” said Rosenberg. “Animation is a major source of creative and commercial growth, it easily travels around the world, and it is a driving force behind artistic breakthroughs in every medium. Our projects are designed to sit at the intersection of entertainment, culture, and technology, and what we do in animation feeds into our distinct take on live action.”
“Helping lead the team that made Into the Spider-Verse was a life-altering experience that forever changed what I thought was possible,” added Rothman. “We’ve started Modern Magic to keep going and see what else a motivated, ragtag group of artists can accomplish when they take the leap.
Commercially, we see a worldwide animation audience that understands it is a medium for smart, great, limitless, multi-genre storytelling, and, as Spider-Verse proved, doesn’t need to be confined to the kid & family audience or a 30-minute sitcom. There’s a massive audience looking to see every boundary pushed; for that audience, anything is possible,” Rothman continued. ” It doesn’t have to look real as long as it feels real. And we know from experience how excited the creative community is about the opportunity to explore new mediums to express the emotion, artistry and humanity critical to 21st-century storytelling.”
Rosenberg most recently served as Co-President of Production for MGM’s Worldwide Motion Picture Group, overseeing feature film development and production. During his time at MGM, he oversaw such projects as as Creed 1 & 2 with Ryan Coogler, Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone; Jordan Peele and Nia DaCosta’s upcoming Candyman; upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic Respect; Bad Trip, starring Eric Andre, Lil Rel Howery and Tiffany Haddish; Antoine Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven, starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt; and Dwayne Johnson’s Fighting With My Family and Hercules.
Rosenberg is an exec producer on Julius Avery’s recently completed film, Samaritan, starring Sylvester Stallone, and on the upcoming Creed 3.
Writer, director, and producer Rothman most recently co-wrote and co-directed Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. He previously served as a producer and writer on the films 22 Jump Street, The Five-Year Engagement, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Popstar, and Get Him to the Greek. He previously worked on the TV side as head writer for The Late Show with David Letterman. During his time with that series, it won three Emmys (for Outstanding Variety, Comedy or Musical Program); he himself was nominated for five, in the category of Outstanding Writing for a Variety or Music Program.
Rothman is the author of best-selling nonfiction humor book, Early Bird. His writing has also appeared in The New Yorker, GQ, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, and McSweeney’s Quarterly. His piece “My Fake Job” was included in the Best American Nonrequired Reading anthology.
Rothman’s additional projects outside of Modern Magic include 24 Jump Street, which he wrote and is attached to direct for Sony Pictures.
Modern Magic is repped by UTA, Rodney Rothman by Ziffren Brittenham and Adam Rosenberg by McKuin Frankel Whitehead