Cannes 2012: Joe Drake and Nathan Kahane Reteaming for New Film Venture

3:04 PM PST 05/01/2012 by Gregg Kilday
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

The former Lionsgate and Mandate execs will launch the company, Good Universe, at the upcoming Cannes Film Market.

Joe Drake, who is leaving his post as president of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group in the wake of the Lionsgate/Summit merger, is reteaming with former Mandate Pictures president Nathan Kahane to launch Good Universe, a full-service motion picture financing, production and sales company that will kick off at the upcoming Cannes Film Market.

Good Universe will begin life with a full slate of films from Mandate’s development slate, in which Good Universe and Lionsgate are partnered. Drake and Kahane also will be looking to acquire other material in specific areas: bigger, multiquadrant properties with 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 -- such as Juno, the Harold & Kumar series and 50/50. Future franchises will be modeled on Drake’s franchise-building strategy at Lionsgate that resulted in The Expendables and global box-office juggernaut The Hunger Games.

Drake will oversee Good Universe’s sales operation, which will be presenting two films in Cannes: Oldboy, to be directed by Spike Lee and starring Josh Brolin, Lizzie Olsen and Sharlto Copley, and Last Vegas, a comedy directed by Jon Turteltaub, featuring a cast headed by Michael Douglas

Good Universe also will work with Lionsgate to complete a number of Mandate pictures currently in production including the reteaming of The Devil Wears Prada director David Frankel and actress Meryl Streep in Hope Springs, also starring Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell, to be released by Sony Pictures in August. Other projects include Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's feature directorial debuts from an original comedy they wrote, End of the World, and Ghost House Pictures’ remake of Evil Dead. Good Universe also will provide certain management and production services on a number of Mandate library properties.

Drake and Kahane’s partnership began in 2003, when they founded Mandate Pictures. Just as they were founding that company, they also partnered with Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert on their Ghost House Pictures production label. Drake and Kahane remain partners in Ghost House. 

In 2007, the partners sold Mandate to Lionsgate, where they continued to operate it as an autonomous brand. As president of Mandate, Kahane moved the company forward with hits including the Golden Globe-nominated and Independent Spirit Award-winning comedy 50/50. Drake took on an executive role at Lionsgate overseeing its theatrical production, distribution, marketing, acquisition and international theatrical operations, where he developed The Hunger Games and other films.

“Nathan and I are excited to continue and evolve the partnership we first forged nearly 10 years ago,” Drake said. “We take great pride supporting filmmakers and the creative process and are energized to expand our already successful business model for films in a wide variety of genres.”

Said Kahane, “Our goal with the new independent venture is to produce and finance quality commercial entertainment and serve as a value incubator for content creators, authors and idea generators."

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