Announced via press release just moments ago, super producer Will Packer (the man behind countless films we've profiled on this blog over the last 4 1/2 years) has inked a 3-year first-look production agreement with Universal Pictures, that will see Packer develop new, scripted projects for the studio under his newly formed Will Packer Productions banner.
Packer’s first film with Universal is the action-comedy Ride Along, which stars Ice Cube and Kevin Hart, that the studio will release on January 17, 2014.
“Will is driven by a boundless energy that drives his relationships and permeates his films. We’ve cherished our experience working with him on Ride Along and cannot wait to collaborate with him on more films in the years to come,” said Donna Langley, Chairman of Universal Pictures.
This news comes a few months after Packer signed his very first overall TV deal, in the form of a two-year agreement with Universal TV (the television production arm of the NBCUniversal) which will see Packer develop TV projects for the studio.
To date, producer Packer's library of films have collectively grossed over $350 million worldwide. Some of the titles on his resume include, most recently, the box office smash, Think Like A Man, as well as Stomp the Yard, Takers, Obsessed and more.
Looking ahead, it'll be a very busy 2014 for Mr Packer, with at least 4 feature films scheduled to be released next year that he and his company produced - in addition to this new TV deal with Universal, on the feature side, there's the aforementioned Ride Along, which stars Ice Cube and Kevin Hart; the thriller, No Good Deed, which stars Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson; the remake of About Last Night with Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, Kevin Hart and Joy Bryant; and the sequel to Think Like A Man (Think Like A Man Too) which is set for a spring 2014 release.
He recently wrapped production on Screen Gems’ The Wedding Ringer, starring Josh Gad and, once again, Kevin Hart, who's also having a very good year! That film is set for an early 2015 release.
Korin D. Huggins was named Head of Television at Will Packer Productions. She was most recently Director of Drama Development at Warner Bros. Television Studios. Executives have not yet been announced for the film division of the company.
The 39-year-old Packer was represented in the deal by UTA and attorney Matthew Johnson at Ziffren Brittenham.