Rainforest Films

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Rainforest Films
Industry Entertainment
Founded 1994
Founders
Defunct 2014
Headquarters Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Key people
  • Rob Hardy
  • Will Packer
Products Films, Television
Home Entertainment
Website Official site

Rainforest Films was a film production company founded in 1994 by Rob Hardy and Will Packer that produced films geared towards African-Americans.

History[edit]

With fraternity brothers William Packer and Gregory Anderson producing, Rob Hardy wrote and directed Chocolate City, a $20,000 film that Blockbuster distributed through its video stores.[1] The film about a young man’s profound experience on a black college campus, was shot using 16mm color film on the campus of Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida. In 1994, on the eve of the success of Chocolate City, Hardy and Packer created Rainforest Films. One of the most important goals of Rainforest Films is to create work that will uplift, instead of degrade, the African-American spirit.[2]

After relocating from Tallahassee to Atlanta, Georgia, the company produced the erotic thriller Trois in 2000. Funded, produced and distributed independently, Trois became the fastest black indie film to ever surpass the $1 million mark at the box office. With this achievement, Rainforest Films landed at the #34 spot of The Hollywood Reporter’s Top 500 Film Distributors of 2000, and resulted in Trois being named one of Daily Variety’s Top 50 Highest Grossing Independent Films of the Year.[3]

In 2002, Rainforest Films released the critically acclaimed motion picture Pandora’s Box at the American Black Film Festival.[4] Later that year, The Hollywood Reporter listed Rob Hardy and William Packer amongst the New Establishment of Black Power Brokers in Hollywood. Rainforest Films acquired the US distribution rights to Master P’s gritty prison drama Lockdown in 2003. The film received a limited theatrical run but eventually became one of Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment’s top selling independent releases of the year.[5]

Dissolution of company and lawsuit[edit]

In June 2014, Packer and Hardy announced that Rainforest Films was being dissolved that month pursuant to a 68.1% vote by the shareholders of its holding company, Rainforest Productions Holdings, on June 2, 2014.[citation needed] The last Will Packer-produced film that appears under the Rainforest Film's banner is About Last Night. Think Like a Man Too, No Good Deed, The Wedding Ringer and Ride Along 2 (all Will Packer-produced films that were filming or in post-production at the time of Rainforest Films dissolution) will fall under the new shingle Will Packer Productions.[6][7]

On June 20, 2014, Bronner Bros. president and CEO Bernard Bronner, who owns 30.8% of the Rainforest Productions Holdings and voted against the dissolution of Rainforest Films,[citation needed] filed a lawsuit against the holding company and co founders Will Packer and Rob Hardy alleging, inter alia, breaches of fiduciary duty, gross mismanagement, misappropriation of corporate assets, waste of corporate assets and abuse of control. Bonner states in the suit that he invested over $500,000 and raised another $250,000 to start Rainforest Films back in 2000 and was one-third owner of the company. Bonner claims he was systematically shut out of Rainforest by Hardy and Packer, who assumed daily operations of the company, limited information Bonner received about the company as well as limited Bonner's decision making authority. Bronner, who is demanding a trial by jury, is seeking judgement against Hardy and Packer for the allegations as well as an award of punitive damages.[8] Rainforest Productions Holdings has described Bronner’s lawsuit as frivolous, and said that the lawsuit has been sent to its lawyers for vigorous defense and potential countersuit against Bronner in light of the scurrilous nature of Bronner’s allegations. Rainforest Productions Holdings and Hardy and Packer are not presently commenting further on the Bronner lawsuit.[citation needed]

Movies produced by Rainforest Films[edit]

Theatrical releases[edit]

Release Date Title Directed by Budget Gross
March 10, 2000 Trois Rob Hardy $250,000 $1,161,843
August 9, 2002 Trois 2: Pandora's Box Rob Hardy $800,000 $881,950
October 7, 2005 The Gospel Rob Hardy $4,000,000 $15,778,152
January 12, 2007 Stomp the Yard Sylvain White $13,000,000 $75,511,123
November 21, 2007 This Christmas Preston A. Whitmore II $13,000,000 $49,778,552
April 24, 2009 Obsessed Steve Shill $20,000,000 $73,830,340
August 27, 2010 Takers John Luessenhop $32,000,000 $69,055,695
April 20, 2012 Think like a Man Tim Story $12,000,000 $100,070,507
January 17, 2014 Ride Along Tim Story $25,000,000 $153,262,184
February 14, 2014 About Last Night Steve Pink $12,500,000 $49,002,684

Direct-to-Video releases[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]