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The Safran Company Inks First-Look Deal With Warner Bros, Taps ‘Rampage’ Producer John Rickard As President Of Production

Anthony D'Alessandro

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EXCLUSIVE: Peter Safran’s The Safran Company has finalized a first-look producing deal at Warner Bros and has named Wrigley Pictures chief and Rampage producer John Rickard as president of production.

The deal brings together two esteemed blockbuster producers on the Burbank lot: Safran, who has been behind the $1.9 billion-grossing success of New Line’s Conjuring franchise and the highest-grossing DC movie of all time in Aquaman ($1.15B), and Rickard, who in addition to delivering such hits as the $428M-grossing Dwayne Johnson vehicle Rampage was also a producer on New Line’s $320M-plus-grossing Horrible Bosses series. Both are respected by Warner Bros and New Line brass as producers who get their hands dirty, show up on set, and are with the production beyond set-to-wrap.

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Wrigley Pictures’ Max Jacoby will also segue to The Safran Company as director of development, serving alongside Peter Safran’s director of development Megan Fleming. Already, Wrigley Pictures has packed up and re-located to The Safran Company’s offices inside Building 81 on the lot, which also houses Clint Eastwood’s Malpaso, Christopher Nolan’s Syncopy and James Wan’s Atomic Monster.

Rickard has a number of projects from Wrigley he’ll continue to work while at Safran including Spy Guys starring Shazam!‘s Zachary Levi and directed by Jeff Tomsic, Cody Blue Snider’s Fools Day with Margot Robbie, and Jermaine Fowler’s comedy The Come Up. The plan is to have these projects ultimately transition to The Safran Company.

Rickard recently completed Charlie Day’s feature directorial debut El Tonto and has the STX Justin Dec horror-thriller Countdown opening this Friday about a nurse who downloads a deadly app that predicts when she will die, and fights against the clock to save her life. Rickard has been a producer for New Line for close to a decade across 11 films. Half of them he developed including such titles as How to Be Single, the 2010 reboot of Nightmare on Elm Street starring Rooney Mara and Jackie Earle Haley, and Fist Fight. 

Safran, a preeminent builder of franchises on the lot, has been at Warners exclusively for the last eight years with a résumé that has amassed well over $3.3 billion in global ticket sales. In addition to all three Conjuring movies (the third chapter, currently in post, opens on September 11, 2020), all three Annabelles, The Nun and upcoming The Nun 2, he produced this past spring’s DC success Shazam! ($364.5M) and is currently producing James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad for the studio now shooting in Atlanta. Between the Conjuring series and Aquaman, Safran is a frequent collaborator with filmmaker Wan. Also in the pipeline for Safran is the Aquaman spinoff The Trench, Aquaman 2, and Shazam! 2.

Safran tells Deadline, “It’s great to be making Warner Bros my home again. I’ve known John Rickard for a long time through the New Line world, and knew he would be a fantastic president of production. He’s a true hands-on producer. His addition to The Safran Company allows us to be a bigger supplier for the studio.”

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