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Mandate Partners Joe Drake and Nathan Kahane Launch Good Universe Before Cannes

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood May 1, 2012 at 6:04PM

It's classic that just as an executive can claim a huge hit, he's out at the studio. Joe Drake's stewardship at the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group is a thing of the past, but he does have bragging rights to "The Hunger Games." Now he and longtime Mandate partner Nathan Kahane ("Juno") are launching new shingle Good Universe just in time for Cannes.
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Joe Drake and Nathan Kahane
Joe Drake and Nathan Kahane

It's classic that just as a film executive can claim a huge hit, he's out at the studio. Joe Drake's stewardship at the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group is a thing of the past, but he does have bragging rights over "The Hunger Games' franchise. Now he and longtime Mandate partner Nathan Kahane ("Juno," "Stranger than Fiction") are launching a new shingle, Good Universe, just in time for Cannes.

They're calling it "a full-service motion picture financing, production and global sales company," which already has "the infrastructure and resources to develop, package, produce and fully finance its movies."  The exit deal included films from Mandate’s development slate, which is partnered with Lionsgate. 

Drake and Kahane will be seeking to acquire other material in three specific areas: "bigger multi-quadrant properties with true franchise potential, expanding the Ghost House Pictures brand with a reinvestment and increased focus on the horror genre, and a focus on the kinds of movies that defined the Mandate brand—singular, original voices with universal stories to tell such as Juno, the Harold & Kumar series and 50/50."
 
In Cannes, Drake will also be jump-starting the Good Universe global sales operation and present their first two films, Spike Lee's remake of Korean thriller "Oldboy," set to start in September with Josh Brolin, Lizzie Olsen and Sharlto Copley, and Jon Turteltaub's comedy "Last Vegas," starring Michael Douglas.  

Good Universe and Lionsgate will partner to complete a number of Mandate pictures currently in production, including the re-teaming of "The Devil Wears Prada" duo—director David Frankel and actress Meryl Streep—in Sony release "Hope Springs," also starring Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell (August).  Other projects include co-writer/directors Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's original comedy "The End of the World," and Ghost House Pictures’ remake of "Evil Dead."  

Drake and Kahane’s ten-year partnership began in 2003 with the start-up Mandate Pictures as well as partnering with Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert on horror label Ghost House Pictures ("The Grudge"). Drake and Kahane remain partners in Ghost House Pictures. In 2007, the team sold Mandate to Lionsgate and continued to operate it as an autonomous brand. Drake oversaw the company’s theatrical production, distribution, marketing, acquisition and international theatrical operations until the merger with Summit forced him out.
 

This article is related to: Lionsgate, Lionsgate/Roadside, Cannes, Cannes Film Festival


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.