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Producer Will Packer Shares His Proven Formula For Box Office Success, Talks Industry Trend Shifts

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by Tambay A. Obenson
February 13, 2014 2:11 PM
10 Comments
  • |

We've interviewed producer Will Packer twice on this blog over the last 4 years; although the last time was in 2012, after Think Like A Man opened to huge box office, shocking all of Hollywood. 


I'm sure we'll get to interview him again in the future (the man has a full plate of films on the horizon), but in the meantime, I thought I'd share this interview he gave to Bloomberg TV a week ago, as hi latest, Ride Along, was on the verge of crossing $100 million in box office. 

There was much speculation across the web as to why the film was doing so surprisingly well, but Packer breaks it down for us in the below clip, as he shares what his formula for success is (a formula that's proven to work, and continues to do so very well). He also talks about Kevin Hart and his work ethic (which is, in part, what makes him the success that he has become), the changing landscape for cinema as new platforms become even bigger factors in production/marketing/distribution decisions made at the studio and indie level, and a bit more.

It's worth a listen, so check it out below - a peek behind the proverbial curtain:

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10 Comments

  • Brother Imhotep | February 14, 2014 3:32 AMReply

    Proud of the brother, no doubt!
    I was in Lee Hall at FAMU in 1997 when he premiered Chocolate City, his first feature.
    Continued success Power Packer.

    Now tell dear brother Tim Story to get at me next time!

    @brotherimhotep
    DGA AD

  • Reelblack | February 14, 2014 12:17 AMReply

    Here's an interview we did with Mr. Packer last week. http://youtu.be/OmQSG15-Er4

  • Daryl | February 13, 2014 7:38 PMReply

    Time after time I hear black folks make this same arguement, you got to start somewhere or it's a business he making money. This is an art people. That's why we continue to be in the position we are in hollywood because of this thinking. Most of the black films continue the sterotypes of black people in films, hence they are mostly comedies or black films are second rate, just films to make a fast buck from. The other thing I hear black folks say it doesn't matter who you hire as long as they doing the job. In a fair world this would be true. Do hollywood give the same talented black people positions behind the scenes, no. That's why when we get in these positions it's important for us to hire black folks that are talented that wouldn't get a chance because they are black, this how you start to change things. You can't tell me the hiring of the white woman wasn't based on color because he feels she can open doors that he wouldn't get into otherwise, this might be true but at some point you got to have self respect and demand more from ourselves and let the fake powers that be we are not having it no more. Fred to say Spike Lee is a bad director, that already tell me what type of film language you speak. Trust me Spike Lee is well respected by other great directors and film lovers becuse they know his talent, he will never get the love by the general audience who only like generic watered down films. Martin Scorsee films just started making big box office since working Lenardo Dicapero you look at his films from the 70's to 90s' none of the films were big box office draws, they still were great and I would say better than his big box office films now. No black director compares to the body of work of Spike Lee because Spike Lee always made the films he wanted to make with his personal vision, These black directors now will shuck and jive for hollywood in a minute you throw a check at them. Curtis and Miles your arguements is off based too. This guy is a millionaire with his films generating close to a half a billion dollars, that's a bs excuse to say he can't make other films now, what he need 2 billion to start making other films. Miles your comments is the main problem with black films today, the black filmmakers don't want to challenge the audience anymore but keep making the same crap over and over because it's selling. We need more black auteurs instead of just black directors for hire. Carl my master plan is black folks to start doing for self and stop believing the hype hite hollywood and corporate america telling us who we are and we must go their route to make it and having control of our stories that you see a diversity of black life on the silver screen. You call me a crybaby because I challenge these black celebs in power to do better instead of just sitting back going with the flow.

  • Dankwa Brooks | February 14, 2014 8:33 AM

    Again I hear you DARYL about the "black positions" thing, but maybe he had a good working relationship with this woman and thought she was the best person for the job.

    On it's face it looks like the election of new Academy Awards President CHERYL BOONE ISAACS was wholly patronizing because of complaints about lack of diversity and such, but if you look at her record she's also wholly qualified.

    Sometimes it IS just whomever's best for the job.

  • Dankwa Brooks | February 13, 2014 5:38 PMReply

    I hear what DARYL is saying, but I have to disagree. I think Mr. Packer is killing the game right now. He seems to be very methodical in his marketing and promotion of his films.

    Imma keep it 100, even though I had NO interest in TLAM, I saw the marketing EVERYWHERE. I was listening to R&B music on Pandora an ad would pop up and such. As someone who also studied advertising in college, I thought it was brilliant targeted marketing.

    I eventually say TLAM (Redbox son. No bootleg, I'm a filmmaker) and thought it was one of the best films I saw that year and I was not expecting that AT ALL.

    As a fan of Taraji and Idris I can't wait to see 'No Good Deed' and the push backs and rescheduling I think is all part of Mr. Packer's master plan. I know when he think it's the optimal time to see it -we will.

    Finally, the "white woman as the head of his production company" thing, IDGAF what color she is. He's STILL the boss and he releases quality black content. I was on a local radio show at Morgan State University and the host was "concerned" about non black investors in '12 Years a Slave' and such and my reply was--I don't care who funds the film, as long as it has a black director and or writer heading the project--that was fine with me.

  • Daryl | February 13, 2014 3:20 PMReply

    I would hope he would start working with great directors like Spike Lee in the future because even through his films are a success he's not making any classic movies, he just making run of a mill movies that make a fast buck, but in the long run they will be forgotten about. Ride along made a lot of money but it was a terrible movie. Just listening to this interview and seeing him put a white woman as the head of his production company let me know he is the same as white hollywood. That's why I say no matter how successful he is, using this model it will not be a game changer, just another black guy that got rich that keeps things the same.

  • Curtis | February 13, 2014 6:18 PM

    You gotta start somewhere Daryl. Who's to say that he doesn't have plans to make Oscar caliber films? In this business, especially in this century, and when you're black, you've got to prove that you can make bank at the box office before any studio will give you money to go and make your own Citizen Kane.

  • Miles Ellison | February 13, 2014 5:53 PM

    He's in business to generate box office, not make classic movies. His audience doesn't want classic movies, they want to see the same movies that they see everybody watching. Clearly, most people didn't think Ride Along was terrible, and most of the people who saw it didn't care if it was classic or not. They just wanted to see Kevin Hart do what Kevin Hart does.

  • Fred | February 13, 2014 3:46 PM

    "...great directors like Spike Lee..."

    You just lost validity.

  • Carl | February 13, 2014 3:35 PM

    So where can we we view your game changing work you naive cry baby?

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