Primary Wave Acquires Evolution Management

Mark Burg Larry Mestel Split - H 2014
AP Images/Invision; Courtesy of Primary Wave

Mark Burg Larry Mestel Split - H 2014

The merger will strengthen Primary Wave’s film and TV business and create synergy with its music practice

Primary Wave has acquired Evolution Management and will merge the company into its talent management division, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The combined personnel — which will include film and TV talent and literary managers — will move to expanded offices next year.

With the addition of Evolution founder Mark Burg and his fellow managers Michael Menchel, Tiffany Kuzon, Brad Kaplan, Margot Menzel, Ben Press, Stephen Gates, Sekka Scher and Dan Patack, Primary Wave bolsters the expansion of its film and TV business, which includes development, management and production. Primary Wave’s strengths have traditionally been in music — its clients include CeeLo Green, Melissa Etheridge, Cypress Hill, Eric Benet, Tank, Natalie Imbruglia, The Go-Go’s, Trevor Jackson and Ginuwine, along with Emmy winner Jane Lynch. The company’s two-year-old TV division has developed more than a dozen scripted and unscripted projects, including Green’s TBS reality show The Good Life.

“Mark and I have been friends for decades and over the years, we’ve completed many successful business deals together,” Primary Wave CEO Larry Mestel said in a statement. “This was an inevitable partnership and now as a formal alliance, we will combine our companies’ expertise and relationships in music, TV and film.”

Evolution financed last year’s Casey Affleck-Rooney Mara drama Ain’t Them Bodies Saints and the faith-based feature Grace Unplugged. Burg, whose production credits include Bull Durham, Can’t Buy Me Love, The Sandlot, John Q and the Saw franchise, recently executive produced Two and a Half Men and Charlie Sheen’s follow-up series, Anger Management.

Evolution’s other current film projects include:

·      Granite Mountain Hotshots, based on the true story of the 19 firefighters killed in an Arizona blaze last June, written by Black Hawk Down’s Ken Nolan and directed by Crazy Heart’s Scott Cooper. Burg and Menchel will produce.

·      Cook, directed by Bruce Beresford and written by Evolution client Susan McMartin. Kaplan is executive producing the feature, which begins shooting in Los Angeles this month.

·      Kaplan and Kuzon also are producing thriller Submerged, written by client Scott Milam and starring client Jonathan Bennett (Mean Girls); Lionsgate’s urban thriller The Tour, written by Nancy Norman; and horror pic Havenhurst, directed by Andrew Erin.

Menchel and Burg also are producing the Fox Television Studios/Cinemax series Prison Town (starring Laurence Fishburne) and the Lionsgate Television series Rocket City (written by Tom Fontana and executive produced by Dr. Mehmet Oz and Lisa Oz), as well as executive producing Amazon Studios’ White City, written by Oscar-winning client Ron Bass (Rain Man).

“Larry Mestel is a winner in the music and music publishing business,” Burg said in a statement. “His expertise in music merged with our team’s extraordinary reach and expertise in film and television will make for an exciting place to work. I am also committing substantial funds to produce more film; we will be the only management company that I know of that will finance our own movies, which will allow us to utilize our clients in the company’s productions, just as we did with Saw.”