In a statement announcing the partnership, Universal Pictures President Peter Cramer said, “Dan and his team at Rideback have an exceptional track record producing major franchises, animation and prestige films.”
“Additionally, with Rideback Ranch, he has created a groundbreaking filmmaking community, and his commitment to cultivating talent across the industry perfectly complements our studio’s own efforts and values,” the statement continued, alluding to Rideback’s creative campus located in L.A.’s Historic Filipinotown. “We are thrilled to welcome Dan and Rideback to Universal and look forward to a partnership in the years to come that builds upon his amazing run of success.”
As a producer, Lin’s projects — including “The LEGO Movie,” Stephen King’s “It,” the “Sherlock Holmes” franchises, and Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” — have grossed more than $5 billion worldwide. As founder and CEO of Rideback, Lin oversees the company’s film operations along with President of Film, Jonathan Eirich.
“As a 22-year-old kid, I started my entertainment career at Universal and was thrilled to walk the hallowed halls of the Black Tower every day. 25 years later, I’m returning to Universal and feel that same excitement about partnering with Donna, Peter, and the entire Universal film team,” Lin said in a statement. “As they boldly innovate new approaches to making and distributing movies, we are excited to bring Rideback’s collaborative, filmmaker-focused approach to this new partnership with Universal.”
Universal and Rideback already have several projects in development, including the next movie based on the global LEGO brand. First reported by Variety in Dec. 2019, the brand’s film rights were acquired by the studio in April in a new, exclusive five-year deal.
The new first-look deal also boasts several new projects, details of which are all being kept under wraps, including a high-concept romance, an adaptation of bestselling novel, and a diverse reboot of a popular Universal film franchise.
Prior to launching Rideback in 2008, Lin served as SVP of Production for Warner Bros. Pictures, where he oversaw the development and production of such films as Martin Scorsese’s “The Departed.”
Rideback also produced the Oscar-nominated Netflix film “The Two Popes,” Fox’s “Lethal Weapon. The company is currently in production on CW’s “Walker” and in pre-production on Netflix’s live-action “Avatar: The Last Airbender” series. The creative campus Rideback Ranch, launched in 2018, is also home to David Ayer’s Cedar Park Entertainment, Margot Robbie’s LuckyChap Entertainment, the animation studio Animal Logic and Warner Animation Group.