EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has just closed a deal to acquire Beast, an action-thriller for Will Packer to produce. The logline is being kept under wraps, but the film will show what happens when man is forced to go head-to-head with a beast. The pitch comes from Jamie Primak-Sullivan, and it will be scripted by Ryan Engle. They served the same roles in the Packer-produced Breaking In, and Engle separately scripted Rampage. Packer will produce through his Will Packer Productions banner alongside partner James Lopez and Primak-Sullivan will executive produce. Engel is repped by CAA and Mosaic.
While Venom and A Star Is Born got all the plaudits last weekend, it’s notable that when the Kevin Hart–Tiffany Haddish Malcolm Lee-directed Night School won the previous weekend, it became the 10th time that a Packer-produced film finished first on opening weekend. Others included the Ride Along and Think Like A Man films, No Good Deed, Takers, Obsessed and Stomp TheYard. In his lane, the charismatic Packer has become as dependable a hitmaker for Universal as Jason Blum’s Blumhouse is in the genre space. Here, Packer tells Deadline how it all happened, and how direct audience interaction has been at the heart of his success.
DEADLINE: Ten films finishing atop the box office is impressive enough, but you’ve done it with done it for the most part with modest budgets and P&A spends.
PACKER: Social media has been so important, even if it can be a double edged sword.
DEADLINE: Why do you consider it invaluable, when many people trip themselves up using it as a platform to be provocative?