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AFM: Creative Wealth’s Jason Cloth Talks About ‘Joker’ and Survival

Jason Cloth, founder and CEO of Toronto-based Creative Wealth Media, is backing two major studio slates (Warner Bros. and MGM) and has committed more than $750 million to major films and TV series through its Bron Creative partnership.

Notable projects include “Fences,” “The Morning Show,” “Bombshell,” “The Addams Family,” “A Simple Favor,” Tom Hanks’ “Greyhound,” AFI Fest opener “Queen and Slim” and Jason Reitman’s “Ghostbusters.” He’s one of the biggest private financiers in the industry.

Joker” is part of a six-picture financing deal that Creative Wealth and Aaron Gilbert’s Bron Studios closed at the end of 2018. That deal included “The Mule,” “Isn’t It Romantic,” “The Kitchen” and Ben Affleck’s “The Way Back.” Cloth spoke with Variety recently at the Waldorf Hotel in Beverly Hills.

Were you surprised at how “Joker” has performed, now that it could go to $1 billion worldwide? 

We didn’t even have modeling that took the film out this far. When we took a look at the financial part of the film, we stopped quite a bit earlier than where the film is right now. It certainly raises our notoriety. It does show people that this is the type of quality project that we’ve got.

How do you react to people’s complaints about the violence?

There are six guys who get killed in “Joker”. The only people are the ones who did him wrong.  He doesn’t go after random people. He’s not a psychopath — he’s an everyman that got pushed over the edge. You watch Joaquin gradually descend into despair and he emerges in a different state.

Can you discuss a sequel?

I can’t give away what they’re bantering around. There’s no way the studio’s not looking at how do you capitalize on this.

What’s been the most gratifying aspect of running Creative Wealth?

The most satisfying part of this is surviving those early first years. “Joker” is so much more for me than the box office and critical success. It’s a validation of all the pain and suffering that we went through.

How did you start?

I met Aaron after financing for “Tumbledown” fell out. We work very well together where Bron acts as the creative engine. One of the things I realize early on is that if you work on your own as a film finance you’re going to get killed. So it was Bron that got us through the early years. “Birth of a Nation” put Bron on the map and got us “Fences,” which had six Oscar nominations, put us into the studio world.

How many people work at Creative Wealth?

There are 11 of us. Managing money doesn’t require hundreds of bodies. We have in-house analysis, accounting, legal, business affairs. I get brought in at the early stages. Bron will do a financial analysis and we’ll do one and then we’ll do a third-party analysts firm. We’re not there to tell Todd Phillips how to direct or Joaquin Phoenix how to act.

Why did the partnership decide to go into television last year?

The demand for TV content is off the charts. The foreign producers need product. We started on the ground running with “The Morning Show” with Apple TV Plus, buying it for three seasons so it’s already successful. We’re developing “Scanners” and “Shadowplay,” Michael C. Hall’s World War II drama.

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