After directing “Meet the Parents” and “Meet the Fockers” for Universal Pictures, Jay Roach is moving his Everyman Pictures production banner to the studio’s lot.
He’s been based at 20th Century Fox for the past four years.
Roach’s new multiyear production pact with U will give the studio first look at all material that his shingle plans to develop and produce.
As often happens with first-look deals, Roach didn’t end up directing a film for Fox during his time on their lot — in addition to the Ben Stiller-Robert De Niro comedies, Roach helmed the third pic in the “Austin Powers” franchise for New Line — though several projects remain in active development there.
“I really loved my time at Fox. I still hope to make some of the films we’ve developed there,” Roach said. “There’s been such a positive glow at Universal after ‘Fockers’ and ‘Parents.’ It’s a part of the natural momentum of having two films work like that to team up and explore if we can do more of the same.”
Mary Parent, who with Scott Stuber is transitioning from vice chair of production to a producer on the lot, worked closely with Roach during the production of both pics.
But Roach touted the good relationships he’s developed with other U execs, including Ron Meyer, Stacey Snider and Marc Shmuger, as well as recently appointed production prexy Donna Langley.
U chair Stacey Snider praised Roach. “As a writer, director and producer, Jay has a unique talent for bringing the human condition to the screen in a relatable, memorable and often hysterical fashion,” she said.
Everyman prexy and development head Jennifer Perini will stay aboard in the move.
Together, “Parents” and “Fockers” have grossed more than $800 million worldwide, with the latter setting the record as the highest-grossing live-action comedy.
New alliance between Universal and Everyman will fuel speculation that a third installment of the franchise — “Meet the Little Focker” has been mentioned as a possible concept for a follow-up — may one day hit screens.
Roach hasn’t picked his next project. Among the projects still in active development at Fox are “Used Guys,” the remake of “Elling,” and “Saints and Sinners.” He is also developing “The Party” at DreamWorks.
Roach had his directorial debut in 1997 on Mike Myers starrer “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.” Everyman and Roach developed and produced Disney’s “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” a project that developed out of Roach’s friendship with Douglas Adams. He also exec produced Sony’s “50 First Dates.”