Ben Affleck and Matt Damon have launched their own independent production company Artists Equity, an artist-led studio that hopes to empower filmmakers’ creative visions through entrepreneurial partnerships, it was announced Sunday.
The production company’s first project will feature Affleck in front of and behind the camera as director and cast member while Damon stars in a the real-life story behind the creation of the iconic Air Jordan brand. The project is slated for release in 2023 in partnership with Amazon Studios, Skydance Sports and Mandalay Pictures and is one of three projects the company anticipates in 2023.
Artists Equity, which is also led by Gerry Cardinale’s investment firm, RedBird Capital Partners, serves as an intellectual property monetization platform that seeks to enable all participants in the production to share in profits as well as partner with established and emerging filmmakers seeking a talent-friendly environment. The company will also take a data-driven approach to distribution to optimize distribution strategy for productions.
“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,” Affleck said in a statement. “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,” Affleck continued. “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.”
Affleck will serve as chief executive officer alongside Damon, who assumes the role of chief creative officer. Michael Joe, the former chief operating officer of STX Films and former Executive Vice President at Universal Pictures, serving as COO. The company will be headquartered in Los Angeles.
“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,” Damon said. “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.”
After 2023, the company hopes to release a minimum of five projects per year.
“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 accomplishments,” said 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.”
Cardinale continues: “Over the last twenty 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 captalized 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.”