Academy Award-nominated producer Brian Oliver launched a new production and financing venture, New Republic Pictures, on Tuesday, with a first-look agreement at Paramount Pictures.
Under its first-look deal, Paramount will co-finance and distribute some of New Republic films. The two companies have agreed to co-finance Paramount’s Elton John biopic “Rocketman,” starring “Kingsman” star Taron Egerton. Academy Award-nominee Lee Hall (“Billy Elliot”) wrote the screenplay and Dexter Fletcher (“Eddie the Eagle” and “Bohemian Rhapsody”) will direct.
“Earlier stops in my career, especially at Propaganda Films and Cross Creek Pictures, allowed me to learn all aspects of production, finance, distribution, and marketing, and to construct my own company from that extensive knowledge base in every aspect of the business,” Oliver said in a statement. “Building a new company from the ground up was a bit more challenging than I imagined and there have been a couple starts and stops with potential financing partners, but I believe the things I learned throughout this process will allow me to position my investors in even better ways for continued success.”
New Republic made its first spec purchase in December for the Matt Tente original screenplay “GreenRush” written by Matt Tente. The film will be a character-driven heist thriller set in the world of legal marijuana dispensaries. New Republic is producing the project with Will Packer and James Lopez of Will Packer Productions.
Oliver was the co-founder of the production and financing company Cross Creek Pictures before launching New Republic Pictures. At Cross Creek, he was responsible for spearheaded award-winning films such as “Black Swan” and “Hacksaw Ridge.”
Films that Oliver has helped produce have received 13 Oscars nominations, 14 Golden Globe nominations and 23 BAFTA Award nominations, along with more than $1.4 billion of worldwide box-office grosses.
The creative team from Cross Creek, including John Hilary Shepherd as head of development and Courtney Shepard as creative executive, will be joining the new venture. New Republic has also hired former Pixomondo head of production BJ Farmer as vice president of production and Angus Sutherland, formerly of Exclusive Media and IMR International, as vice president of acquisitions and production.
Matthew Quigg joins New Republic from Paramount Television and the company said it plans to announce more hires in television, digital and new media in the future.
The deal with Paramount was negotiated on behalf of Oliver and New Republic by Kenneth Deutsch at Latham & Watkins and by Lindsay Conners of Mannat and Phelps.