Richard Branson is getting into the film business.
The mogul announced on Friday the launch of Virgin Produced, a film and television development company that’s billed as a joint venture between Virgin and Relativity Media’s Rogue Pictures.
Virgin Produced will be based in Los Angeles and run by Jason Felts (pictured above left) and Justin Berfield (right), a pair of former J2 producers -- Felts will serve as chief executive, Berfield the chief creative officer. (Berfield, you may recall, played the older brother on Fox's "Malcolm in the Middle.")
In addition to developing and producing original films, Virgin will co-produce "two to three" movies a year with Relativity/Rogue. The deal will allow the studio to “utilize Virgin’s marketing capabilities to reach millions of consumers within the Virgin and Rogue target audience.” First up is an untitled comedy from Peter Farrelly.
Here’s the statement from Branson:
“Entertainment has long been a focus of the Virgin brand, and I’m excited for the chance to further grow in this space. Jason and Justin’s approach is very entrepreneurial, very Virgin. We share a passion for creating and nurturing communities of talent and fresh material. The Rogue and Virgin brands seem an obvious fit for each other.”
Felts: “At Virgin Produced, we look to break some old molds while providing talent a place where they know their work will be embraced and supported. With Rogue’s boundary breaking approach and Virgin’s entrepreneurial strength, the brands are perfectly suited for each other.”
And one from Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh: “We believe that their approach to film is suited to do just that and pairing the Virgin and Rogue brands together to create innovation couldn’t be more natural.”