Todd Wagner, CEO - 2929 Entertainment
The goal of 2929 Productions is to develop and selectively finance and produce interesting and thought-provoking feature films for both specialized and mainstream audiences. Though there is no prescribed mandate, 2929's films tend to fall into one of the following (often overlapping) categories:
Filmmaker-driven: Projects of all genres that are elevated by the presence of a director with a singular vision.
Inspirational and socially conscious: Life-affirming stories with the potential to provoke new ways of thinking about entrenched issues and challenge a status quo.
True stories: Previously untold historical or contemporary non-fiction stories about ordinary individuals facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
2929's recent projects have been distributed by Warner Brothers, Lions Gate, Dimension, The Weinstein Company, Paramount and Fox.
In 2003, billionaire entrepreneurs Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban founded 2929 Productions to develop, finance and produce independent feature films outside of the Hollywood studio system. In its first few years, 2929 produced such films as “Godsend,” “Criminal” and “The Jacket.”
In 2005, Wagner green-lit 2929’s financing of writer-director George Clooney's "Good Night, and Good Luck." To mitigate the risk of a black-and-white historical drama, Wagner brought on fellow independent film entrepreneur Jeff Skoll and his company Participant Productions. "Good Night, And Good Luck" would go on to gross more than $30 million at the domestic box office and rack up a slew of awards including the National Board of Review's Best Picture of the Year honor and six Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Picture. That same year, 2929 also produced “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room,” which went on to win the 2006 Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary, as well as earn an Oscar nomination for Best Feature-Length Documentary.
On the heels of that success, 2929 co-financed and produced the Lionsgate release "Akeelah and the Bee," starring Academy Award nominees Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett. The film opened in April 2006 to ecstatic reviews and won numerous awards from the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the Chicago Film Critics Association, and the NAACP, among others. The modestly budgeted inspirational drama reached $19 million of domestic theatrical gross and has been a solid performer on DVD.
On Christmas Day 2006, Dimension Films released "Black Christmas," a 2929 remake of the 1974 cult sorority slasher movie that would provide inspiration to early-80s horror titans John Carpenter and Wes Craven. In May 2007, the Weinstein Company released 2929's film, "The Ex," a sophisticated rivalry comedy starring Zach Braff, Amanda Peet, and "Jason Bateman.
In 2007, 2929's film "We Own the Night," starring Oscar nominees Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Wahlberg, along with Oscar-winner Robert Duvall and Eva Mendes, made its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, where it was nominated for the prestigious Palm D'Or. Columbia Pictures paid a record advance for the North America rights to the film and released it in fall 2007 in 2200 theaters, grossing nearly $30 million.
In January 2008, the star-studded "What Just Happened?" premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and made its theatrical debut in October 2008. This Hollywood satire from writer-producer Art Linson and director Barry Levinson stars Robert De Niro as a desperate movie producer. Bruce Willis and Sean Penn play themselves and Stanley Tucci, John Turturro, Catherine Keener, and Robin Wright Penn also star. 2008 was also the year that 2929 debuted “The Life Before Her Eyes,” Vadim Perlman’s follow-up to his art-house hit “The House of Sand and Fog.” The film starred Oscar nominee Uma Thurman and Evan Rachel Wood.
In 2009, 2929 Productions released two films through its sister company, Magnolia Pictures: James Gray's "Two Lovers" starring two-time Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix and Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow, and "The Burning Plain" from Guillermo Arriaga (the Oscar-nominated writer of “Babel”) starring Academy Award winners Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger.
In November 2009, the Weinstein Company released 2929’s production of "The Road," based on "No Country for Old Men" author Cormac McCarthy's Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller. The haunting film – about a father and son fighting to survive in a post-apocalyptic America – stars Viggo Mortensen, Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce and Charlize Theron. Directed by Australian John Hillcoat, the film has garnered widespread critical acclaim and a “Best Actor” nomination for Mortensen from the Broadcast Film Critics Association.
In 2012, Magnet Releasing unleashed 2929's production of "Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie," a work from the minds of cult comedy heroes Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim of "Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job." Having premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, the film features cameos from some of the biggest names in comedy today.
Also in 2012, 2929 produced "Deadfall," which was released by Magnolia Pictures. Starring Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde, Charlie Hunnam, Kate Mara, Sissy Spacek, and Kris Kristofferson, the winter-set thriller explores what occurs after a heist goes terribly wrong and two desperate sibling fugitives collide with a troubled ex-con's holiday homecoming. Directed by Stefan Ruzowitsky, whose 2007 film "The Counterfeiters" took home the Academy Award for Foreign Language Film, "Deadfall" explores issues of greed, kin, and desire.
In 2014, 2929 will unveil "Serena," starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. Based on the novel by Ron Rash, the period film follows newlyweds George Pemberton and his new bride, Serena, as they maintain a close watch over a burgeoning logging empire in Depression-era North Carolina, ruthlessly ruling the woodlands while fighting off the efforts of environmental activists to turn their land into a national park. However, when Serena learns that she is unable to bear children, and that George has fathered an illegitimate son with a local woman, their intense, passionate marriage spins out of control, and Serena sets out to murder the son George fathered without her. Serena" is directed by Acadmey Award winner Susanne Bier, whose film "In A Better World" took home the Academy Award for Foreign Language FIlm in 2010.