EXCLUSIVE: The prolific film/TV production company Automatik has completed a merger with Range Media Partners, a deal that will further expand Range’s production capabilities and slate ambitions.
As part of the merger, Brian Kavanaugh-Jones and Fred Berger have been named Partners and Co-Presidents of Film & Production at Range. That duo over the past decade has produced over 70 films and television shows, ranging from Academy Award and Emmy winning projects to commercial franchises. They’ve worked with a wide range of top filmmakers including Damien Chazelle, Jeff Nichols, Alma Har’el, James Wan, Leigh Whannell, Karyn Kusama, Nia DaCosta, Gia Coppola, Michael Pearce, and Cory Finley.
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Berger was nominated for an Oscar and won Golden Globe, BAFTA, and PGA awards for the Damien Chazelle-directed La La Land, the film that won six Oscars and grossed just short of half a billion dollars worldwide. Kavanaugh-Jones and Berger also won an Emmy for the Cory Finley-directed black comedy Bad Education, which starred Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney and was acquired at Toronto by HBO for a then-record sum.
Automatik had been aligned with Grandview, and Anonymous Content had at one time been in talks to acquire both. Grandview opted to remain separate, and the deal with Automatik wasn’t consummated either. Financial term on this deal were not disclosed.
Kavanaugh-Jones and Berger bring to Range a robust slate of projects including Jeff Nichols’ The Bikeriders, which stars Austin Butler, Jodie Comer, and Tom Hardy for New Regency, and the Oz Perkins-directed Longlegs, which stars Nicolas Cage and Maika Monroe for Neon. Both of those are in post-production, and they are in pre-production on the James Mangold-directed Bob Dylan biopic A Complete Unknown, which stars Timothée Chalamet as the iconic singer for Searchlight; the Jonathan Entwistle-directed Fred & Ginger to star Jamie Bell & Margaret Qualley for 30WEST; The Monkey, an adaptation of the Stephen King short story to be directed by Oz Perkins and star Theo James; and the Max Minghella-directed Shell, which stars Elizabeth Moss, Kate Hudson, and Kaia Gerber.
Other key executives from Automatik are joining Range alongside Berger and Kavanaugh-Jones to support the growing project pipeline.
Said Range principals Mick Sullivan & Pete Micelli: “We have long admired Automatik. Fred & Brian, and the full team, have extraordinary taste, world class relationships, and are true gaming-changing producers. Their vision, passion, and creativity are unparalleled and will be invaluable to accelerating our aspirations to bring compelling stories and ideas to life. We are beyond excited to bring their best-in-class expertise into the fold at our growing platform.”
Said Kavanaugh-Jones and Berger: “We’re so inspired by what the Range team has built in just a few short years, fueled by passion, creativity, and superlative talent. We feel humbled to join our friends and can’t wait to tap into the dynamic ecosystem to build ambitious, impactful work together.”
The principals of both companies have relationships that span decades. Prior to founding Automatik, Kavanaugh-Jones was an agent at CAA in the Film Finance Department, where several of Range’s founders came from, and through their expansive slate, Berger and Kavanaugh-Jones have partnered with Range representatives and executives across numerous clients and projects over the years.
They said they realized through their work together that their cultures would align, along with a common goal to provide a safe and secure home for artists. The merger will allow Range clients more opportunity to generate projects with Automatik’s seasoned producers.
Automatik was represented by Evolution Media Capital and Paul Bernstein of Venable LLP.
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