As Deadline’s Mike Fleming reported back in June of this year, Redbird Capital Partners has today confirmed details in that story. Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Gerry Cardinale are launching an artist-led studio that partners with filmmakers to empower creative vision and broaden access to profit participation.
The new studio, Artists Equity, will seek to create “entrepreneurial partnerships” with filmmakers.
Terms were not disclosed. RedBird Capital is making what is termed “a significant financial commitment in launching the company, providing strategic capital and operational expertise to accelerate its development and production pipeline.
Affleck and Damon combined have generated more than $10.7 billion in worldwide box office sales, 110+ feature films as star or costar, six produced screenplays, eight TV series as executive producer or writer, and earned three Academy Awards. They will lead the company.
Artists Equity is an intellectual property monetization platform anchored by three core principles, the announcement stated:
• Broaden Access to Profit Participation: Provide performance-based incentives to creators and crew that allow all participants in the production value chain to share in profits;
• Fuel IP Monetization Through Creator Partnerships: Focus on partnering with both established and emerging filmmakers who want to work in a talent-friendly environment with management that understands and supports their creative vision;
• Leverage a Data-Driven Approach to Distribution: Utilize insights derived from proprietary databases to better inform decision-making around distribution strategy, optimizing reach and valuation of content.
Artists Equity’s first project will feature Affleck as the director and star Damon and a cast including Affleck in the true story behind the creation of the iconic Air Jordan brand, which is slated for release in 2023 in partnership with Amazon Studios, Skydance Sports, and Mandalay Pictures.
The company anticipates releasing three projects in 2023, with plans to scale and release a minimum of five projects per year in the future.
“Artists Equity was conceived from Matt’s and my longtime passion for the art of storytelling and our shared desire to help creators deliver on their vision, as we have been fortunate to do throughout our careers,” said Affleck, who will hold the title chief executive officer. “The entertainment industry is defined by great partnerships – writers, directors, producers, crew, actors – and throughout my career I have learned that collaboration is what drives success. Our goal with Artists Equity is to build a creator-focused studio that can optimize the production process with shared participation in the commercial success of projects. We are thrilled to partner with Gerry Cardinale and the RedBird team, who have a long track record of building notable scaled platform businesses around unique IP. Matt and I are looking forward to working together to empower the current and future creative minds in the entertainment industry.”
“Historically, the success of a film was based on its box office performance. Now, with the rise of streaming, the business behind filmmaking has intrinsically changed. However, Ben and I know that the power will continue to be in the hands of the creators, no matter which direction the industry evolves,” said Damon, who will be the chief content officer. “Artists Equity enables these visionaries to take ownership of their creative power, providing a platform for both established and emerging
filmmakers to streamline the development of their content. Ben and I are lucky to have worked with some of the best in the business, and our partnership with Gerry Cardinale and the team at RedBird continues us on that trajectory as we look to innovate and empower through the Artists Equity platform.”
“Ben and Matt are two of the most talented entrepreneurs in the entertainment industry, and now we can add founders to their long list of achievements,” added Gerry Cardinale, founder and managing partner of RedBird Capital. “The investment thesis behind Artists Equity is consistent with RedBird’s track record in backing proven founders and entrepreneurs with scalable solutions-based capital to create innovative intellectual property monetization platforms. Over the last 20 years since Ben, Matt and I first met, we have participated in the evolution of content monetization in our respective careers, culminating most recently in the streaming phenomenon and its current evolution from volume to quality. Artists Equity is an independently capitalized studio that will enable content creators to navigate this evolving landscape and maximize value for their visionary storytelling. The premium today is shifting more towards quality which plays extremely well to Ben and Matt’s track record as filmmakers across writing, directing, producing and acting. Under their curation, Artists Equity will deliver projects that meet the growing demand for critically acclaimed content while also enabling broader profit participation throughout the production value chain.”
Artists Equity will be headquartered in Los Angeles and led by Affleck, Damon and chief operating officer Michael Joe, the former COO of STX Films and former EVP at Universal Pictures.