In the latest major agency exit, Phillip Sun, a partner at WME, is joining forces with MACRO founder and CEO Charles D. King to form M88, a full-service representation firm amplifying the voices of artists and creators from the global new majority, which Sun will lead as president and managing partner.
The new management venture will be majority-owned by the multiplatform media company MACRO, with the M standing for MACRO and the 88 a nod to Sun’s Chinese heritage. King’s recently launched MACRO Management, which represents filmmakers, actors, writers and multihyphenates, will merge operations with the company. Former Paradigm motion picture agent Gaby Mena and former CAA film rep Jelani Johnson were brought on as part of the new representation vertical in January.
It’s a reunion for Sun and King, who first worked together at William Morris Agency in 2007. “Charles has been a fierce advocate and pioneer of multicultural storytelling and storytellers first as an agent/partner at WME and now as founder and CEO of MACRO. He is a unique force in the industry, and someone I deeply admire as a colleague and close confidante,” says Sun. “Given our aligned values and shared history, this partnership is a natural evolution and necessary step.”
King, who launched MACRO with the aim of representing the voice and perspectives of people of color in 2015, has in the past few years produced some of Hollywood’s most impactful films including Mudbound, Sorry to Bother You, Just Mercy and the upcoming Judas and the Black Messiah. The company is backed by a collection of investors, including Laurene Powell Jobs’ Emerson Collective.
“I am truly thrilled to work directly with Phil again and to launch this new venture together,” adds King. “His keen eye for talent, passion and advocacy for artists and authenticity and his deal making prowess are undeniable. Additionally, he is an exceptional executive and leader who completely aligns with the mission and values of MACRO in life and practice. We look forward to growing and building with him.”
Michael B. Jordan will be Sun’s first client to join M88. Together, Sun and Jordan built Jordan’s production company, Outlier Society, which currently has first-look deals at Warner Bros. for film and Amazon Studios for television. Jordan will continue to also be repped at WME. Other clients of Sun’s are expected to join him at the new management company as well, while continuing to be represented by WME.
Sun’s work has often been focused on supporting and building up inclusion and diversity in Hollywood. He worked with client Jordan and WarnerMedia to help the company craft its barrier-breaking inclusion policy, the first of its kind for a studio.
At WME, Sun, who has appeared on both THR’s Next Gen and Empowerment lists, ascended the ranks as one of the industry’s most prolific agents. His diverse list of clients includes Jordan, Idris Elba, Riz Ahmed, Donald Glover, Gemma Chan, Lena Waithe, Rihanna and Naomi Scott. “I am grateful to WME, particularly Patrick Whitesell and Ari Greenburg, for the unrivaled training and mentorship provided to me over the course of my 15-year career there. I look forward to continuing our work together in this new capacity,” says Sun.
Sun was one of the first Asian American agents to be promoted to partner at WME, and has used his platform to push for change internally by co-founding Empower, WME’s company-wide program that ensures that employees at all levels feel supported rising through the agency — and externally as a board member of USC Annenberg’s Inclusion Initiative.
“Our industry needs companies like M88 now more than ever, and we couldn’t be more proud that Phil is making this move,” says Patrick Whitesell, executive chairman of Endeavor. “He’s an incredible advocate for artists and we wish him all the best in his next chapter.”
Sun’s departure comes amid a string of exits at the top agencies, including those due to the recent launch of a new management-production company by Peter Micelli, a former TV lit agent at CAA who brought on agents from CAA, WME and UTA in his new venture.