Red Granite Pictures chairman/CEO Riza Aziz and vice chairman Joey McFarland are off to a rock-solid start, just a year after they launched the shingle in September 2010. Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions nabbed the Red Granite’s recent Toronto fest debut “Friends With Kids,” a $10 million ensemble comedy featuring Jon Hamm and Kristen Wiig. It follows their revival of the aborted $75 million biopic “The Wolf of Wall Street,” with friend Leonardo DiCaprio again attached to star and produce alongside Emjag Prods. It’s a fitting project for the two finance vets, who formed the banner after being approached to fund several projects. “We’re investor-savvy and know how to make movies the right way,” Aziz says. “I think that’s what made (DiCaprio) believe in us.”
The somewhat unlikely pair (recent London transplant and HSBC investment banker Aziz hails from Malaysia, private equity vet McFarland from Kentucky) recruited Nu Image’s Danny Dimbort and Christian Mercuri to launch an international sales arm earlier this year, and Millennium’s Joe Gatta to serve as the shingle’s production prexy.
Despite their background, they say they aren’t just moneymen, giving creative input other films.
“We’re not (going to be) pigeonholed into one genre or budget range,” says McFarland, who expects to announce an ambitious slate of films in Berlin. “We want to make commercial, mainstream, high-pedigree films that read well on the page.” — Gregg Goldstein
Jason Michael Berman | Borderline Films | Tyler Davidson & Sophia Lin | James Gay-Rees | Lawrence Inglee |