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Former Lionsgate exec launching new movie firm with partner

Joe Drake has teamed with former Mandate Pictures business partner Nathan Kahane to start Good Universe.

May 02, 2012|Los Angeles Times

Former Lionsgate movie chief Joe Drake, who was squeezed out of his job as part of the independent studio's acquisition of Summit Entertainment, is joining his former Mandate Pictures business partner Nathan Kahane to launch a new film finance, sales and production company called Good Universe.

Mandate is best known for quirky low-budget films such as "Juno" and "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle," as well as horror films including "The Grudge" from its Ghost House label, a joint venture with director Sam Raimi. Good Universe will continue both efforts and also seek to make bigger-budget projects that appeal to a broader audience and have the potential to spawn sequels.

Founded in 2003, Mandate was acquired by Lionsgate in 2007. Drake then took a job as chairman of that studio's motion picture department while Kahane ran Mandate independently.

Good Universe of Santa Monica will take over Mandate's entire development slate, in which it will share ownership with Lionsgate, and will help manage Mandate movies soon hitting theaters, including August's "Hope Springs," starring Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell.

The first Good Universe movies expected to start production are carry-overs from Mandate: "Oldboy,"directed by Spike Lee and starring Josh Brolin, and "Last Vegas," starring Michael Douglas.

Lionsgate will maintain its ownership of Mandate's library of approximately 30 films, including last year's dark comedies"50/50"and"Young Adult,"though Good Universe will provide management services for them.

Drake's departure from Lionsgate comes little more than a month after the blockbuster success of"The Hunger Games,"which the executive oversaw from development through release. However, Summit co-Chairmen Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger were promised the top film jobs at Lionsgate as part of the Summit acquisition.

ben.fritz@latimes.com

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